NPS; An acronym for National Park Service or No Personal Security?
April 25, 2006
On February 11, 2005, The Department of the Interior was petitioned by citizens to amend National Park Service weapons regulations, amending 36CFR 2.4 to permit off duty law enforcement officers and qualified citizens to carry firearms within existing federal and state laws as well as other Parks regulations. To this date the Department of the Interior maintains that it will not address this petition until after November of 2006. The situation in the National Parks is not getting better.
In fact, the National Park Service budget is being cut significantly as reported in the April 17, 2006 Washington Post article, April 18, 2006 GovEXEC.com article among others. Park Rangers realize this is a serious issue, as evidenced by their comments in online discussion here and here.
Bighammer.net has chronicled the danger faced in National Parks since the VCDL Petition to amend NPS weapons regulations was received. While the Department of the Interior has listened to the Petitioners concerns and responded to letters of support from Congress, the facts of existing danger in the parks, reduced funding including public safety present new concerns that must be addressed. Every day that citizens and off duty law enforcement personnel face a criminal violation for trying to protect themselves in National Parks is a day that needlessly places all of us at risk.
"Homeland security begins at home" and this country is either serious about homeland security and terrorist threats, or it's not. As long as the National Park Service criminalizes self protection in National Parks, this country is not serious about National Security, period. The solution to this gaping hole in our nation's strategy for national security is to implement the changes in the VCDL Petition for Rule Making without further delay. The VCDL Petition would allow citizens and off duty law enforcement personnel to protect themselves in National Parks while maintaining the authority to control recreational hunting and shooting activities. The petitioners have been, and will continue to work with the Department of the Interior to get these common sense changes implemented but our Representatives and Senators in Congress need to ask "What seems to be so much more important than Park Visitor Safety?" The answer can be found in the Federal Register and the use of personal watercraft among several others appear to have a higher priority than visitor safety. It is difficult to justify additional funding for the National Park Service while they continue to put their Park visitors at enhanced risk while they put public safety on the back burner.
Here's a copy of one of the National Park Service's proposed regulation changes of such importance from the 04/25/06 Federal Register:
NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
Gateway National Recreation Area, Sandy Hook Unit, Personal Watercraft Use
Comment End Date
FR Document Number
36 CFR 7
How To Comment
You may submit comments, identified by the number RIN 1024- AD42, by any of the following methods: --Federal rulemaking portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting electronic comments. --eMail: PWCComments@louisberger.com. --Mail or hand deliver to: General Superintendent, Gateway National Recreation Area, 210 New York Avenue, Staten Island, NY 10306. For additional information see Public Participation under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION below.
. For additional information see Public Participation under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION below.
Bighammer.net & the other Petitioners only want the common sense changes from VCDL's petition implemented without further stonewalling.