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National Parks Conservation Association Troubled to Learn of Potential NRA Infiltration of Campaign to Protect National Parks

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 31, 2008
4:07 PM

CONTACT: National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA)
Andrea Keller Helsel, National Parks Conservation Association,
202.454.3332

 
National Parks Conservation Association Troubled to Learn
of Potential NRA Infiltration of Campaign to Protect National Parks
 
WASHINGTON - July 31 - The nationís leading voice for the national parks, the nonprofit National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) today reacted to an investigation by Mother Jones magazine ("Thereís Something About Mary: Unmasking a Gun Lobby Mole," July 30, 2008), which identified a prominent gun control activist as having active ties with the National Rifle Association (NRA).

NPCA has confirmed that this individual, Mary Lou Sapone, also known as Mary McFate, has participated in multiple confidential conversations and email correspondence over the past few months about efforts to keep visitors and wildlife safe in our national parks. Currently, firearms are allowed in national parks as long as they are unloaded and put away; under pressure from the NRA, the Administration has proposed to weaken this reasonable Reagan-era regulation, which is supported by all six former directors of the National Park Service. According to the Mother Jones article, Sapone, who served as director of federal legislation at the States United Against Gun Violence, "took a keen interest" in this issue.

A statement by NPCA Legislative Representative Bryan Faehner follows:

"If the investigation by Mother Jones proves true, then the NRA will have effectively spied on our ongoing efforts to keep visitors and wildlife safe in our national parks. If true, this is a troubling display of the lengths to which the NRA will go to further its agenda."

The public comment period for the Administrationís proposal to allow loaded guns in national parks closes August 8, 2008.

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