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Guns in Our National Parks?

This week, Interior Secretary Dick Kempthorne announced plans to review laws banning guns in national parks and on land administered by the Fish and Wildlife Service. After the review, the department will draft new gun rules by April 30 for public comment. Several conservation groups and ranger associations have already spoken out against the review. Not surprisingly, the NRA supports the review and the accompanying senate bill, which sprung from a letter written to Kempthorne by Idaho Republican Senator Mike Crapo. Both Crapo and the NRA claim that the need for guns in national parks stems not from a desire to hunt, but from the necessity to protect oneself and family from both violent crime and vicious animals.

"Law-abiding citizens should not be prohibited from protecting themselves and their families while enjoying America’s national parks and wildlife refuges," said Chris Cox, the National Rifle Association’s chief lobbyist.

Your chances of encountering violent crime in our national parks is very small — about 1 in 708,333, according to park officials. But maybe the stats don’t tell the whole story: The last time I was in Yellowstone, this ground squirrel was totally throwin’ gang signs at me. My tentmates didn’t catch it, but I’ve been down those mean streets before. Interior Department reviewing gun restrictions at national parks (Dallas Observer)—Ted Alvarez

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