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Old January 26, 2009, 06:18 PM   #47
Evan Thomas
Join Date: July 7, 2008
Location: Upper midwest
Posts: 5,141
hammer4nc quoted the following from the Association of National Park Rangers:
ANPR echoes U.S. society and existing legislation in believing that the Second Amendment right to bear arms is not absolute in all locations nor at all times. Park units are sanctuaries for human and animal alike, and in some cases may be the only viable habitat for a specific species. Unlike some other private, state, and federal property, natural resources in National Parks are protected, unless specified differently in the park's enabling legislation. Because of this, humans do not have the right to kill an animal in a National Park in order to protect life or property. Allowing firearms in National Parks would increase the risk to animals, primarily predatory species, considerably.
and commented:
IOW: The "experts" believe the Endangered Species Act supersedes the Bill of Rights.
Actually, I think ANPR has a valid point here, and it's not about the Endangered Species Act. The animals in National Parks live there, and are protected because they do -- we don't live there, nor do we HAVE to go there. The purpose of National Parks isn't to let us get little "nature fixes" when we want them; it's to preserve some of the natural environment, including the animals that live there. So it's reasonable to prohibit behavior which puts those animals at risk. Whether CCW in parks does put them at risk is an empirical question, but it seems to me that it might. It would be nice if "No, sorry, it's illegal to kill animals within National Parks, no matter what," were enough to prevent people from killing them, but that's pretty hard to enforce, especially once you're talking about people going into the backcountry, where rangers are few and far between. I'm not talking about "wanton killing" here, which I assume isn't something any responsible gun owner is going to engage in -- I'm talking about someone shooting a bear, or a wolf, or even a moose, because they felt threatened by it; in a National Park, this isn't, and shouldn't be, OK to do.

I've done a fair amount of travelling in pretty remote places, canoeing in the Arctic and such, without feeling any need to cart a gun along. At the same time, if I go to a National Park, just knowing that some people may -- legally -- be packing isn't going to wreck the experience for me, or make me uncomfortable. But I do think that if their reason for carrying has anything to do with their "right of self-defense" against wildlife, that's sorta sad... better they should stay home if they're that uncomfortable outdoors, or at least take the trouble to find out how to coexist with whatever wildlife they're lucky enough to meet.
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