At first, I confused the Interior's rule change with Virginia's proposed rule change that the VCDL was campaigning for.
The VCDL was the first to point out the commenting period of the Virginia State Forestry Association, and I'm proud to say that I (along with more than 1,000 others) respectfully submitted comments regarding why we believe we should not be forbidden from legally exercising our right to protect ourselves in Commonwealth parks.
However, despite the obvious differences of State v. Federal parks the rules were pretty much exactly the same. Both were regarding the lawful carrying of a concealed firearm in accordance with existing state laws. It's important to understand that allowing one to do something they already do, but just in new areas, does not make anyone more dangerous contrary to what some would have you believe.
Do you feel more or less safe knowing that any wacko can bring a gun into a Utah mall and shoot you despite the laws that forbid him from bringing a gun into that mall or murdering people?
Now ask yourself do you feel more or less safe knowing that a law abiding citizen that
- is mentally sane
- has never been convicted of a felony or violent crime
- has never been dishonorably discharged from the military
- has successfully passed a federal background check
- is not a fugitive of justice
- is not an unlawful user of illegal or prescription drugs
- in some cases has completed state required training courses to carry a gun
- is not an alien in the country illegally
- has never renounced their citizenship
However, I feel the commenting period flew low under the radar (I didn't even hear about it until just this morning when I read a NY Times Editorial). Sometimes things work out in spite of your action (or lack of action in this case). This would be one of those times because I'm ashamed to admit that I wasn't there to register my comments.
Here's the Dept. of the Interior's official press release on their ruling. http://www.doi.gov/news/08_News_Releases/120508.html
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Lyle Laverty today announced that the Department of the Interior has finalized updated regulations governing the possession of firearms in national parks and wildlife refuges. The final rule, which updates existing regulations, would allow an individual to carry a concealed weapon in national parks and wildlife refuges if, and only if, the individual is authorized to carry a concealed weapon under state law in the state in which the national park or refuge is located. The update has been submitted to the Federal Register for publication and is available to the public on www.doi.gov.
Existing regulations regarding the carrying of firearms remain otherwise unchanged, particularly limitations on poaching and target practice and prohibitions on carrying firearms in federal buildings.
“America was founded on the idea that the federal and state governments work together to serve the public and preserve our natural resources,” Laverty said. “The Department’s final regulation respects this tradition by allowing individuals to carry concealed firearms in federal park units and refuges to the extent that they could lawfully do so under state law. This is the same basic approach adopted by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the United States Forest Service (USFS), both of which allow visitors to carry weapons consistent with applicable federal and state laws.” READ MORE>>>