The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Kathleen O'Neil, Associate Director, Media Relations 202.419.3717

Loaded Guns Don't Belong in National Parks

Statement by Theresa Pierno, NPCA Executive Vice President:


"While the Bush Administration's proposed regulation, which was struck down in court, was limited to concealed-carry handguns, the Coburn rider would allow individuals to attend ranger led hikes and campfire programs carrying loaded shotguns, rifles, and semi-automatic weapons at Yellowstone, Yosemite and Grand Canyon National Parks, and many other national historic sites and battlefields.

"Contrary to what Senator Coburn and others have said, the existing rule does not prohibit guns in parks. The Coburn rider overturns the existing, reasonable Reagan-era regulation that allows people to have guns in national parks as long as they are unloaded and stowed away.

"Seven former directors of the National Park Service and current and former park rangers oppose this rider because they believe it will increase the risk of poaching, vandalism of historic resources, and put visitors at risk. National parks are, and should remain, different from all other public lands.

"This bill has been hijacked by special interests intent on allowing loaded guns into our national parks. President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, and Majority Leader Hoyer, we call on you to listen to our park rangers and keep our parks safe by striking this dangerous rider."

NPCA is a non-profit, private organization dedicated to protecting, preserving, and enhancing the U.S. National Park System.