In a step backward for reasonable gun control, a horde of Democratic Senators in Congress have voted to allow loaded guns in our National Parks. As noted in an e-mail from tha National Parks Conservation Association:
What does credit card reform legislation have to do with national parks? We asked ourselves that same question. But the rules of the U.S. Senate being what they are, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) attached a rider to the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights Act (H.R.627) that would allow individuals to carry loaded rifles, shotguns, and semi-automatic weapons in national parks if the firearm is in compliance with state law.
The Coburn rider overturns the existing, reasonable Reagan-era regulation that allows guns to be transported through national parks as long as they are unloaded and stowed away. Seven former Directors of the Park Service and current and former park rangers oppose the rider because they believe it will increase the risk of poaching and vandalism of historic resources, and put visitors at risk.
Washington State can thank our two Senators, Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, for voting no on this cave in to the NRA to allow guns in our National Parks.
Unfortunately 25 other Democrats joined with all the Senate Republicans in adding this totally unrelated rider to HR 627. Democrats voting yes included Baucus (MT), Bayh (IN), Begich (AK), Byrd (WV), Casey (PA), Conrad (ND), Dorgan (ND), Feingold (WI), Hagan (NC), Klobucbar (MN), Kohl (WI), Landrieu (LA), Leahy (VT), Merkley (OR), Nelson (FL), Nelson (NE), Reid (WV), Shaheen (NH), Spector (PA), Testor (MT), Udall (CO),Warner (VA), Webb (VA), Wyden (OR), and Independent Sanders (VT).
The bill has to go back to the House for concurrence. E-mail, write or call your Representative and urge them to reject this pro-gun amendment being added to the credit card legislation. We don’t need guns in our National Parks.
As noted 10 years ago in the LA Times:
The United States has by far the highest rate of gun deaths–encompassing murders, suicides and accidents–among the world’s 36 richest nations, the first comprehensive international look at gun-related deaths found.
The U.S. rate for gun deaths in 1994 was 14.24 per 100,000 people. Japan had the lowest rate, at 0.05 per 100,000. …
The CDC would not speculate as to why the death rates varied, but other researchers said easy access to guns and society’s acceptance of violence are part of the problem in the United States.”If you have a country saturated with guns, available to people when they are intoxicated, angry or depressed, it’s not unusual guns will be used more often,” said Dr. Rebecca Peters, a Johns Hopkins University fellow specializing in gun violence. “This has to be treated as a public health emergency.”…
The 36 countries chosen were listed as the richest in the World Bank’s 1994 World Development Report.
The study used 1994 statistics supplied by the 36 countries. Of the 88,649 gun deaths reported by all the countries, the United States accounted for 45%, said Dr. Etienne Krug, a CDC researcher and co-author of the article.
Keeping loaded guns out of our National Parks is the right move to try to provide at least a few places where guns are not so prevelant.