Julie Cart of the Los Angeles Times celebrated PSH Day with a story titled “Guns are now permitted — but not necessarily welcomed — in national parks.” In its usual vein of editorializing while pretending to report the news, the story tells us that “the controversial law” (which was so damned controversial it sailed through a solidly Democrat Congress by a veto-proof majority, and was signed into law by the only President in history with a public record in support of banning handguns) took effect yesterday and now:
Visitors now can pack heat in any national park from Gates of the Arctic to Everglades, provided they comply with the firearms laws of the park’s home state[.]
Meaning, of course, if you are one of the three people who can legally carry a firearm in California, now you can carry at Yosemite, too. Yippee!
But opponents say guns don’t belong in the nation’s highly protected parks, where it remains illegal to fire a weapon or kill an animal and where employees, including most rangers, are unarmed.
The presence of guns, they say, could increase the chance of deadly accidents and up the ante in confrontations between park visitors or between visitors and wildlife.
Not a single opponent is cited by name, leading one to wonder whether the unnamed opponents consist of Ms. Cart herself, and maybe a few co-workers at the L.A. Times. Or maybe herself and Paul Helmke d/b/a The Brady Center To Prevent Gun Violence. He … um, I mean, they … can be relied on to say those things, and it only takes two to justify the use of the plural, so there we are.
The law, passed by Congress in May, reverses 94 years of National Park Service policy that generally allowed visitors to transport unloaded, disassembled weapons in the trunks of their cars.
Really! I knew it felt like 94 years since the Reagan Administration but had no idea it really had been that long. Where does the time go?
Weapons won’t be allowed in buildings where federal employees work, such as the Statue of Liberty and park visitors centers.
Bummer for Howard Stern and the two other guys who can carry a firearm in NYC. To everyone else, fuhgeddaboudit. If you can’t carry in Manhattan, you couldn’t carry at the Statue of Liberty even if the new rule did apply there.
Returning to manufactured-controversy-mode, Cart writes:
Critics, however, say there are as many potential complications as there are state and local gun laws.
Oh goody, now are we going to hear from an actual … um … critic?
David Barna, a National Park Service spokesman, said park websites are providing some guidance to visitors, but it is the responsibility of each gun owner to understand the laws of the state they are visiting.
Ouch, that was some scathing criticism there. Gun owners responsible for understanding the laws of the state they visit! Take that, gun lobby.
That could confuse visitors at the more than 30 national parks that span more than one state. The Appalachian Trail crosses 14 states. And though Yellowstone is mostly in Wyoming, parts of the world’s first national park also straddle the borders of Montana and Idaho, each of which has different weapons laws.
Wow, I’m so, like, confused. You mean to say that Montana, Idaho and Wyoming are three individual, like, states? They’re all right to carry states, and they all recognize each other’s permits and the most common out of state ones (e.g., Utah and Florida), the only question is which of them recognize permits from your state. So yes, you should check up on that before you travel, but the good news is that Wyoming, which is probably the first state you think about planning the trip, is also the one least likely to recognize your permit. If they do recognize it, chances are Idaho and Montana do, too (but look it up!).
Implementing the law will be particularly hard in California, which has more national park units than any other state and some of the nation’s most restrictive firearms laws.
Yeah, enforcing state law as written is so, like, hard! Jeebus.
Officials are scrambling to fully comprehend how the law will play out at national park units in California, from Redwood and Presidio, to Death Valley and Joshua Tree.
Scramble no more: just read your own state’s damned laws. That’s how the new federal law will play out in your state. Duh.
“Many of the details of the law are unknown at this time,” said Deputy California Atty. Gen. Alison Merrilees. “It won’t be crystal clear the day the law goes into effect.”
Or until someone in California bothered to actually read the law, whichever came first. Apparently the former.