PEER notes that:
On April 30, 2008, the U.S. Interior Department proposed to repeal nearly century-old national park rules requiring that firearms be unloaded and unavailable for ready use. In its place, the Bush administration would substitute the various laws governing “any state park, or any similar unit of state land, in which state the federal park, or that portion thereof, is located…”
The current National Park Service (NPS) regulation was re-written in 1983 under the Reagan administration and was intended to relax earlier strict prohibitions. As the NPS then explained: “[T]he Service has determined that it is not feasible to prohibit the possession of weapons in all situations, and a total prohibition would be unenforceable” (48 FR 30256). The current regulation (36 CFR 2.4) reads –
“…unloaded weapons may be possessed within a temporary lodging or mechanical mode of conveyance when such implements are rendered temporarily inoperable or are packed, cased or stored in a manner that will prevent their ready use.”
It is precisely these sort of rules that the majority opinion in the Supreme Court ruling in the District of Columbia v. Heller case appears to uphold when it denied that the decision would affect “laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings” (at 54).
Since its origin, the national park system has forbidden or severely restricted hunting, making carrying restrictions a key anti-poaching strategy.
While the US Supreme Court decision in District of Columbia vs. Heller ascribes an individual’s right to possess a firearm in the home for defense, the NRA has said it will challenge gun laws in many states based on the ruling.
Many in the NRA appear to believe in an absolute right to own guns, but would be reluctant to claim it since there are some obvious exceptions that seem pretty reasonable for individuals depending on age, mental capacity, danger to society, and such.
Would someone please explain to me the difference between being allowed to carry a loaded gun in a park versus one tucked away “not available for ready use”? I for one would not like people carrying firearms ready for use as we stroll looking at the deer, or walking up the Lincoln Memorial.
Update: STR and Mcwop say: “Most firearms owners only want common sense. Most of the time law enforcement officials show common sense, but sometimes not.”