On the 22nd of February 2010 a new federal gun law that allows legal concealed carry in National Parks will take effect.
This is a repeal of a National Parks Service law that prohibited citizens from lawful carry of self-defense weapons in our nation’s parks. The Senate bill that reversed the parks service policy, and returned second amendment rights, passed through the congress with overwhelming support from both sides of the aisle.
The bill creating the law was offered by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma
While the law is scheduled to take effect tomorrow, National Parks Service Officials continue working out the details, debating such issues as the definition of ‘federal facilities’, etc… and making determinations on where they can continue the ban of defensive weapons in our nation’s parks using other federal, or state, laws.
A few parks have published policies ahead of an official NPS policy. As policies will vary state by state, I would advise contacting the park directly, or visiting the park website, for information on concealed carry. NPS has made clear that it is the responsibility of the park visitor to know, and respect, all state, local and federal laws that may apply to concealed carry defensive weapons.
While possession on a refuge may generally be allowed under state law,
possession of firearms will remain prohibited in Federal facilities.
Examples include: visitor centers, refuge administrative office
buildings, refuge maintenance offices and workshops, field and
backcountry offices, ranger stations and fee collection stations.
Refuge visitors wishing to possess firearms on any unit of the
National Wildlife Refuge System should carefully read and understand
the laws of the state in which the refuge they plan to visit is
located — as well as applicable local and county laws and ordinances
that derive from that respective state’s law. The laws of the states
in which they reside, or from which they may have received firearms
permits, do not apply when they are away from those states, although
some states offer reciprocity and allow possession based on another
My advice for those that wish to carry legally in National Parks is to visit the NRA-ILA’s webpage, click on gun laws and select the state. Then visit a local state association involved with keeping the citizens informed of current laws and pending legislation. In Virginia you can visit the Virginia CitizensDefense League.
Now, just so we are clear, this law applies only to those that carry legally, with a state issued concealed carry permit. It does not allow hunting, brandishing or discharging a weapon on federal lands. Please, know the law before you go. It only takes one, or two, bad apples to give everyone else a bad name. Especially in a political and media environment that will push their anti-gun agenda with various distortions of fact, fabrication of events, and even outright lies.
While the media will report every shooting event in the nation in an unfavorable fashion. They never seem to report the daily occurences where concealed carry permit holders save lives, property and prevent crime.
As a reminder to those that may view this law unfavorably, think about this. An armed person is a citizen with rights. An unarmed person is a subject with no choices. Which do you want to be?