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Loaded Guns In CA National Parks? Last “Shot” To Comment Today

June 30, 2008

In the wake of last week's U.S. Supreme Court ruling on gun rights, Californians have until midnight tonight to submit comments on a proposal to allow loaded guns in national parks. The National Parks Conservation Association opposes the plan, arguing that a current rule requiring guns to be unloaded inside national parks is sufficient to protect visitors and wildlife.

Those who support the rule change, including the National Rifle Association, say people have the right to protect themselves, even in a national park. However, retired park ranger Andy Ringgold believes allowing loaded guns there would be asking for trouble.

"It wouldn't solve any problems; it would create problems. In my experience, this proposal would result in serious adverse consequences on park resources, public safety and on the ability of families to enjoy national parks."

Mike Cipra, with the National Parks Conservation Association, says his group is urging the Interior Department to extend the comment period to allow the public to review last week's high court decision to overturn a Washington, D.C., gun ban.

"It's a 157-page decision. I think it's absurd the public will have less than two working days to analyze it and incorporate its meaning into comments on the administration's proposed new regulation."

Comments on the Department of Interior proposal may be made online until midnight tonight at the National Parks Conservation Association website, www.npca.org.


Lori Abbott/Steve Powers, Public News Service - CA