17 March 2008

It's Not About Rights, It's About The Party

Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, democrat and Senate majority leader, has quietly stalled a popular, bi-partisan public lands bill because Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn, a republican, may attach an amendment permitting CCW and open carry in our national parks.

Though democrats do not cry out in favor of gun control as in years past, the Las Vegas Sun reports that Reid's actions are designed to shield many of his colleagues in Congress this election year from having to take a potentially tough stand on the issue.

"On one hand he must entertain the concerns of park lovers, who cringe at the hought of concealed weapons in the backcountry. They argue the chance of becoming a violent-crime victim in a national park is less than that of being struck by lightning — about 1 in 700,000 — yet poaching is a serious potential problem."

“Parks were always meant to be different places where the public could go see the country the way it was before it was settled,” said Kristen Brengel, director of the public lands program at the Wilderness Society. “I think it changes the atmosphere when the guy next to you has a gun and may shoot it.”

"On the other end, Reid must be careful not stir up gun rights advocates, including 53-year-old Jill Andrews, a Fallon mother with a concealed-weapons permit who would “like to carry my gun, put it in a pocket, put it in my saddlebag,” when she visits Yosemite. “We’d love that.”

Poaching is a problem, and that's conducted by two-legged predators. As well, there are four-legged predators and you are often miles from help, as the story notes.

BTW, I'm a long-time national parks advocate. Unfortunately, however, most of my visits have been to national parks in the eastern U.S. and caribbean. And as a supporter, I am not "aghast" at this proposal, as the reporter suggests. Nor are many, many other users and financial supporters of our national parks system.

No comments: