The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Communications: (202) 898-0792

President Must Show Leadership on Guns in Parks, Urge Clean Credit Card Reform Bill


The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence called on President Obama to
demand a clean credit card reform bill, without the dangerous and
extraneous Coburn amendment that could allow concealed handguns and
openly carried AK-47s in national parks.

"The country needs President Obama to show leadership and
demand a clean bill that will not force loaded guns into our national
parks and bypass a Federal court ruling and an environmental review.
Families should not have to stare down loaded AK-47s on nature hikes,"
Brady Campaign President Paul Helmke said. "The President should not
remain silent while Congress inserts reckless gun policies that he
strongly opposes into a bill that has nothing whatsoever to do with
guns. He should urge that this provision be removed from the bill."

Late Tuesday, the U.S. Senate voted 67-29 for the Coburn amendment,
attached to an unrelated credit card reform bill, which allows loaded
guns in national parks. The Coburn amendment allows open carrying of
loaded firearms, including semiautomatic assault rifles, in most
national parks and refuges.

Rules in place since the Reagan Administration have restricted guns in
the national parks, generally requiring them to be locked or stored.
At the behest of the gun lobby and over the objections of National Park
Service career officials, the Bush Administration issued a last minute
rule change allowing loaded, concealed weapons in the parks.

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and other groups successfully sued to stop the rule,
resulting in an injunction issued on March 19, 2009 by U.S. District
Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly blocking the guns in parks rule, in
which she called the rulemaking process "astoundingly flawed." After
initially defending the rule, the Obama Administration agreed not to
appeal the injunction ruling, and instead to conduct a full
Environmental Impact Statement analyzing the harm that guns in parks
would cause to the parks and park visitors.

The Coburn Amendment would override the court's injunction and could
force the government to allow both concealed carrying of loaded
firearms and open carrying of loaded guns, including assault weapons,
unless states specifically ban the carrying of these weapons in
national parks and refuges. Most states do not regulate the carrying
of weapons on federal land.

Brady United formerly known as The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence and its legislative and grassroots affiliate, the Brady Campaign and its dedicated network of Million Mom March Chapters, is the nation's largest, non-partisan, grassroots organization leading the fight to prevent gun violence. We are devoted to creating an America free from gun violence, where all Americans are safe at home, at school, at work, and in our communities.