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After years of wrangling, it finally happened: Guns are allowed in national parks where they don’t violate state rules. That makes it okay for owners of shotguns, rifles, and handguns to possess their arms in all but 20 national parks and 551 national wildlife refuges.
The rule change was tacked on to a widely supported credit-card reform bill, and counts as a major victory for the NRA over gun-control advocates. Several influential groups, including the The Coalition of National Park Service Retirees, argued against allowing guns in national parks, claiming problems with poaching would only increase. They also pointed to the comparatively low violent crime rate enjoyed by national parks visitors.
Getting guns in national parks has been a major trophy for the NRA for years; they claim that guns are useful tools and could help prevent attacks from both aggressive animals and humans in a place where help could be hours away.
So that’s it—the debate is settled for now. Just don’t go shooting or hunting to celebrate—it’s still illegal to hunt or discharge firearms in national parks.