Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Gun's, Parks & Whose Rights?

One would expect the NYT to not disappoint with a chance to be wrong about guns, and this Editorial doesn't disappoint. Forty seven US Senators wrote the Dept Interior to ask them to lift the ban on ready to fire guns in National Parks and Refuges. The NYT, naturally, thinks this is ludicrous and backs their assertions up with misleading or inaccurate (lying?) statements.
There is nothing confusing about the distinction between federal lands where hunting is allowed and national parks, where hunting is not. (Nor should someone who is confused by the difference be carrying a loaded weapon.) It is also no burden to unload a rifle and slip it into a case before, say, driving through Yellowstone.
Apparently, they've never been anywhere, it is pretty simple to tell Central Parks ends at the skyscrapers, that is not the case where refuges and parks abut unregulated Federal land, which is much more the rule than the exception. This piece is about inadvertent violations, since the NYT doesn't like guns it would fit their agenda to have your firearm confiscated and you charged for crossing an unmarked border in the wilds. That isn't what it's really about, the Senator's letter states, "... this rule infringes on gun owners’ rights and is “confusing, burdensome and unnecessary.” The NYT's view is:
The senators who signed this letter — led by Mike Crapo, an Idaho Republican, and Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat — insist that the federal government is infringing upon the gun-carrying rights granted by some states. As so often happens when guns are in question, the senators have forgotten to insist upon the rights of the vast majority of citizens, who choose not to carry guns.

They also appear to have forgotten that national parks and refuges are federal lands, set aside as peaceful preserves for all the species that enjoy them, including humans. Ready-to-fire guns have no place in them.
Now, I've read the BOR and I cannot find a guarantee of the right to not see guns, in fact I can't find anything that assures anyone any rights about arms other than the Second Amendment. Where hunting is banned or otherwise regulated doing something else is illegal, you face sanctions you won't like. If you start shooting up cans or something where recreational shooting is banned, you have a legal problem. As for "peaceful preserves" the NYT either hasn't watched one of the nature shows or the news, these are not your public library animals are busy doing animal things - some quite dangerous to humans - and some humans can't seem to manage ethics or law. A packed away or disabled firearm is not self-protection - it's luggage.

Unlike NYC, I live in a 3,000 square mile county that is over 50% Federal lands and it is not a peaceful safe environment. There are bears, cougars, coyotes, and probably some wolves, none of whom seem particularly concerned with the NYT's ideas of peaceful and some humans find it a friendly environment for illegal activity - something they protect with weaponry. I am always armed in those circumstances, though in twenty years of carrying I've never had reason to take out the gun. There are places you cannot shoot, no Parks, that are near facilities, which is only reasonable - though I'd violate that in a second rather than have a fist fight with a bear.

Do you suppose that if their little daughter were being mauled they'd ask me not to shoot? In the interest of the peaceful environment and National Park's regulations? I'm sure they'd be happy for me to stand by as a disinterested spectator...while they did what? Tell the critter that it's not nice to chew on a human? At that point it is way too late to try noise makers or safe camping or hiking practices, it's down to brute force and a gun trumps a stick.

It is a simple enough matter to regulate hunting and shooting, it's been done for quite some time and seems to be pretty effective, regulating carry in the wild is another issue altogether. One that NYT apparently is incompetent to speak to, though their First Amendment right doesn't allow for disqualifying them for stupidity, funny how that works.


Zak J. said...

The animals I find the most dangerous in national parks generally walk on two legs--as witnessed by the recent murder of the hiker on the Appalachian Trail in Georgia last week.

In Oregon, our federal lands are full of meth labs and marijuana farms--and their minders. And I seem to recall at least one park visitor running wild with a knife being shot by rangers at Crater Lake in the last year or two as well.

Wanting to stay legally armed while traveling in the back county is just basic common sense. It's also a basic right that should be enforced.

Steve Culley said...

The Supreme Court had better weigh in on the right side in June or the banning bunnies like the NYT will be out in force. John McCain seems to be the republican sweet heart at the moment but I hope Oregonians remember that McCain is responsible for no private sales at gun shows. (Oregon Firearms Federation) Rudy and Romney are on You Tube with anti gun stances and of course Hillary is famous for her hatred of the second. It doesn't look good for the constitution, except for Ron Paul. 2640, passed on voice vote and Bush will probably sign. All I wanted was to watch my grand kids grow up. Looks like we might have another Lexington and Concord instead.

Zak J. said...

I saw in the Oregonian this morning an article about how permits are no longer being issued to biologists to do field research in Organ Pipe National Monument because their safety can't be guaranteed. The problem? Drug traffickers from Mexico have free reign in the monument after dark. Organ Pipe is a spectacular park in a fragile environmental zone, from the sounds of the park service statements though it's already been ceded back to Mexico, at least after dark. But don't show up there will a gun to protect yourself--just run away (that seems to be the implication anyway.) Pathetic.

Zak J. said...

Here's a link to that Oregonian story: Run-ins with drug smugglers a risk in studying wildlife

The headline title says it all. The article says the National Park Service is in charge of issueing research permits for the monument.