Senate measure would allow loaded guns in national parks
By DAVID LIGHTMAN
WASHINGTON -- Visitors would be able to carry loaded guns in national parks and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service public lands under a provision approved overwhelmingly by the Senate on Tuesday.
But final passage of the amendment, which was attached to legislation rewriting some credit card laws to favor consumers, isn't guaranteed.
Though it was passed by a 67 to 29 vote, with 27 Democrats, 39 Republicans and one independent voting aye, it could still be stripped from the final bill, which the Senate will continue to consider Wednesday. One Republican, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, joined 28 Democrats in voting no.
The measure was pushed by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., who argued it "makes no sense to treat (gun owners) like a criminal if they pass through a national park while in possession of a firearm."
He was trying to override a March ruling by U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly that overturned a rule implemented by the Bush administration in its final days.
In January, a few days before President George W. Bush left office, people were allowed to carry loaded guns into parks and wildlife refuges if they had a permit for a concealed weapon and the state permitted weapons in parks.
The Obama administration said last month it wouldn't appeal the decision, a stance hailed by gun-control groups.
"Semiautomatic weapons have no place in the valleys of Yellowstone, on the cliffs of Yosemite, or under the torch of the Statue of Liberty," said Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
The restrictions had been in effect since the early 1980s, and had been overturned after requests from U.S. senators.
The National Conservation Association had fought hard to keep guns out of parks, pointing out that the FBI found that in 2006, there were 1.65 violent crimes per 100,000 visitors to the parks, making them "some of the safest places for families to visit in the United States," the group said.
Coburn had a different view. "Visitors to national parks also should have the right to defend themselves in accordance with the laws of their states," he said. "This amendment is about protecting every American's Second Amendment rights."
ON THE WEB
Senate roll call on gun amendment: http://tinyurl.com/qjpcge
Sen. Coburn background information on gun amendment: http://tinyurl.com/5xqny9
http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politic ... 45318.html
IN A WEIRD TWIST....
Senate Backs Allowing Loaded Guns in National Parks, Jeopardizing Credit Card Reform
Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma sponsored the amendment, which would restore a Bush administration policy allowing loaded guns in national parks.
By Trish Turner
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
WASHINGTON -- The Senate on Tuesday voted in favor of a measure, 67-29, that would allow Americans to carry firearms in national parks, if their state laws permit them to possess a gun, with 27 Democrats voting in support.
But because the measure was passed as an amendment to a broader bill seeking reform of the credit card industry, the move jeopardizes the reform bill, whose lead sponsor, Sen. Chris Dodd, opposed the firearm amendment.
The amendment was sponsored by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., who has been fighting for some time for the measure. Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat, voted against the Coburn amendment.
Dodd voiced concern that, as amended, his credit card reform bill could meet the same fate as the D.C. voting rights bill, which was sidelined in the House when it was amended to allow residents of the District of Columbia to carry guns.
The Coburn amendment to the credit card bill would allow states to determine whether or not legal gun owners can carry guns in state and national parks. It prohibits the Department of Interior secretary from making any rule or enforcing any regulation that goes against that determination.
Coburn cited statistics, including 41 rapes, 92 robberies, 16 kidnappings and 5,944 other felony violations taking place in national parks last year.
"Even though parks are relatively safe, oftentimes the best deterrent is for criminals to know someone else might also have a gun," Coburn said.
Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., who became a nationally-known gun owner after an aide was detained for inadvertently carrying the senator's gun into a Capitol office building, spoke in favor of the amendment.
"It doesn't mean you can go hunting. It doesn't mean a 12-year-old can carry a gun" into a park, he said, adding that current law leaves means there is a risk of arrest for gun carriers who simply travel down a highway that might skirt or cut through a park, as happens in Virginia and other states.
No Democrat has spoken against the broader credit card reform bill. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada voted in favor of the amendment, though he warned senators afterward not to introduce any more unrelated amendments to the credit card legislation. Seven of the supportive Democrats are up for re-election in 2010, including Reid.
Dodd said it is possible, if the bill passes the Senate with the Coburn amendment, it still could be dropped in negotiations with the House over the different versions of the legislation.
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/05 ... nal-parks/
Just for the record....
A recent "dna study" found that there are at LEAST 350 Grizzly Bears
IN Glacier National Park....!!!
Not to MENTION a raft of recent abductions and murders against undefended tourists by crooks who KNOW it's "illegal" to carry loaded weapons.....which is the PERFECT set up for them to live a life of crime in the great outdoors.....!!!
PLEASE SEE ALSO: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politic ... _Container