Packing Pistols, Shotguns and National Parks
Here is a great Washington’s Birthday entry for you, gang.
A couple of people asked me to comment about my thoughts on the new law that is allowing guns in National Parks from a practical point of view (probably because I have a line of practical books and a book out on Curio & Relics FFL bound books).
Taking the emotional out of the decision and looking at it from the practical and profitable angle, here is a brief anecdote and my thoughts on the matter.
Back in 1979 when I first wanted to go camping up in Northern California a co-worker (a Hindi lady, not for any discrimination designation but for clarification as to the surprise on my end at her question) asked me, “Kim, do you have a gun? You shouldn’t go camping without a gun.”
The lady was a small, attractive girl who stated that she carryed a .38 when she went camping and her husband had one as well. I don’t remember her name or where she might be but the images and question still sticks with me.
Back then, people were taking firearms to National Parks with or without permission of the Federal or State government. I suspect what was true then has been true for the whole 90 some years that the park service has not allowed firearms in their parks. One did not hear in the news of dozens slain in national park gun fights or drive-bys.
People who have no respect for the law will carry firearms whether they are allowed to or not. My own take is that the Federal law regarding National Parks is now aligned with the state laws. I don’t see a mass of shootings in national parks or an increase in drunken or drug related self blasting because for the most part, the people who are licensed to carry firearms who will now be allowed to carry them will still have the same mindset they did before entering the national park.
I think park animal poaching has been going on regardless if firearms are allowed or not and the solution in my mind from a business sense is to allow national park rangers who want to be trained to carry firearms. That would eliminate the problems with rangers being in the statistical data (from what I have been told) as the law enforcement group to most likely get shot.
People who are saying that they are scared now of going into parks should stop and think practically that people were already carrying guns, drugs, booze and all sorts of contraband and quasi-legal goodies into parks and there hasn’t always been a ranger nearby to help. The key words that come to mind are deterrent and compliance with local laws.
If people are in compliance with local laws regarding purchasing firearms, have had training, I feel more comfortable knowing that there are other people in the parks who are armed who can come to my aid if things go nuts. What can go nuts? It isn’t uncommon for people to grow marijuana in hidden parts of fields, parks, etc and they tend to be possesive of their product. As shocking as it may sound, people may be hiding out from the authorities in national parks.
It comes to mind that a lot of the people doing illegal things in national parks who were carrying firearms illegally may think about moving on if they think that campers coming in might have more firepower than they have or have more armed people in their family outing. Again, these are just hypotheticals.
I would think that any threat from terrorists, from within or without, would tend not to originate from parks in the future knowing that there are people who aren’t afraid of protecting themselves while they are vacationing.
Are parks still going to be a place to relax? Absolutely.
Will some people still get involved with shooting accidents? Absolutely but I don’t think it will be any more than statistically happen today.
If there is an issue, I respectfully submit that we issue forest rangers shotguns and beef up the ranger force in states where the expectation that there will be more crime. It will be a win-win situation because more rangers would be more employed people and visitors to Yellowstone could feel safer that there were more rangers around.
In the meantime, I suspect this will simmer down to a non-event and people need to focus on more important concerns, like getting a manufacturing base going back in America and getting us back to full employment.
Be happy, healthy, wealthy, safe and wise.
Feb 22 2010
Kim Isaac Greenblatt
Packing Pistols, Shotguns and National Parks