I think the big day was supposed to be April 9th, now it's the 11th and I hear the crickets chirping.
Dear Mr. VTFatBastard:
Thank you for contacting me about guns in national parks. I appreciate hearing from you.
On January 29, 2008, Senator Coburn of Oklahoma introduced an amendment to S. 2483, the National Forests, Parks, Public Land, and Reclamation Projects Authorization Act of 2007, that would prohibit the National Park Service from enforcing current gun restrictions in national parks and forests. Current regulations bar individuals from possessing, using, or transporting firearms on federally owned lands and waters administered by the National Park Service unless they are unloaded and stored in a manner that will prevent their ready use.
On April 10, 2008, the Senate took up and passed the Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008, S. 2739. This legislation, which served as an up-to-date version of S. 2483, combined more than 60 natural resources bills passed by the House of Representatives last year. It did not include the Coburn amendment. I voted in favor of this bill because I believe that our national parks and national forests need to be protected and preserved so that future generations can come to witness the beauty and wonders of unspoiled natural places.
The original bill that Senator Coburn attached his amendment to will not receive further action since the Senate passed a more up-to-date version of the bill. On February 11, 2008, Senator Coburn introduced the same language from his amendment as a freestanding bill, S. 2619. I am concerned about the potential consequences of this legislation for park rangers, park visitors, and wildlife alike. Law enforcement agencies and national parks officials have spoken out against Senator Coburn's legislation. You may be aware, however, that Department of the Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne has stated his intention to re-evaluate the current regulations concerning firearms in national parks. Should this bill come before the full Senate for debate, I will be sure to keep your thoughts in mind.
Thank you again for contacting me. Please keep in touch.