[T]he Interior Department may relax a 25-year ban on loaded guns in national parks and wildlife refuges, leaving the issue for states to decide. In a decision that the National Rifle Association has applauded, the department announced that it will issue a new set of rules by April 30.You might think the ban is being lifted so that citizens can better protect themselves because, you know, crime has increased in the national parks. Uh, no. Crime has actually gone down, dramatically the the national park system:
The number of criminal offenses reported in the nation's parks declined by 25 percent from 1995 to 2006, going from 6,009 to 4,485, according to statistics compiled by the National Park Service. That includes murders, rapes, robberies, kidnappings, aggravated assaults, burglaries, thefts and arson.So why does anyone need to carry a loaded gun around a national park? Well, according the NRA Chief Lobbyist Chris Cox,
[L]aw-abiding citizens shouldn't be prohibited from defending themselves while visiting the parks. He said the ban was outdated, noting that while only six states allowed citizens to carry handguns for self-defense in 1982, 48 states now issue licenses or permits for people to carry firearms to protect themselves.Unloaded and stowed. Is that such a bad thing? Really?
Under current law, guns are allowed in national parks only if they're unloaded and stowed.