But some folks don’t like the idea of readily accessible guns in wildlife sanctuaries. Parks Service retirees and some active Parks Service managers have condemned the proposal as the first breach in a dike that will flood parks with poachers, gun-toting vigilantes and hair-trigger ninnies who will shoot bears and coyotes – and trophy deer and elk – at will.
They forget that using a gun for illegal activities is just as illegal as before. As anyone who has photographed Yellowstone Park’s habituated wildlife knows, it would be just as easier – and far quieter – to use archery equipment to poach an elk or bighorn sheep. Yet there are no restrictions on uncased bows in parks.
On the other side, some of the most passionate gun-rights advocates claim their Second Amendment rights allow them to carry guns anywhere, forgetting that the American landscape is dotted with areas where private guns are prohibited. These include prisons, military installations and most public buildings.
The sensible middle is where this proposal should be debated. The Interior Department should relax firearms restrictions in national parks and refuges because it keeps honest people honest. And because it would prevent otherwise law-abiding gun owners from inadvertently becoming felons simply because they cross a jurisdictional boundary.
Let’s hear from you about other places where the current gun restrictions don’t square with common sense or geography. It’s nice to see some courage on gun issues in Washington and with a little of our help this proposal should grow some legs.