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Have Gun, Will Travel to America’s National Parks

As of yesterday, the traveling public is now allowed to bring loaded handguns into most of our national parks as long as they follow the local state laws (for permits and whatnot). Hunting, however, still is illegal within national parkland, as is discharging your weapon, as is bringing a loaded gun into a visitor’s center, so I’m a little unsure of what this new law is supposed to achieve.

The lifting of the loaded handgun ban in national parks has some wondering if this will damage the spirit of the national park system for the American public, while others are wondering if it will serve to strengthen our constitution’s second amendment. Can both be compatible? Without interjecting politics into the discussion, I honestly am wondering why a person would need a handgun in the woods if they can’t hunt or fire?

The arguments I’m seeing on other blogs are that a handgun would help in a bear encounter or during a run-in with a crazed human being (some are arguing that right now criminals are already bringing guns into national parks, so this is a way to even the field). Others are afraid that this would open the doors to target practice in the backcountry, danger to protected species, environmental damage, illegal poaching, and increased violent crime.

What do you think? Will this change the mood of our national parks drastically, or will things remain status quo?


My name: Rachel Berg.

Favorite way to get around: By Venetian gondola during starlit high tide, gliding past decaying and slightly spooky palaces, with perhaps a bottle of prosecco placed between the gondola seat cushions.

View that took my breath away: Unable to sleep in the mystical city of Sfat in Israel, I wandered outdoors predawn and was treated to a purple-on-purple sunrise below the mountaintop that seemed to emerge feet-first through ground-level clouds.

Greatest travel lesson learned: Sunny weather isn't everything. Some of my best travel memories involve go-karting through a deluge turned mud-fest in Mexico, drinking tea in the cold Denali tundra, and watching electric thunderstorms roll through national parks out West.

Most challenging travel moment: Getting leveled by altitude sickness in Cuzco and realizing that my body was forcing me to slow down and rest despite the fact that there was so much to do and see.

Travel ambition: To see the northern lights.


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If you are permitted to carry a concealed weapon anywhere else in the country, why shouldn’t you be able to carry it in a national park. It isn’t like all of a sudden you are going to be overcome by an uncontrollable urge to shoot something. The responsibility is the same no matter where you carry the gun. That’s what background checks are for…to be certain you are qualified and responsible. NO problem!

Wollen Dekbed

I am from Holland and for me it’s very strange that you are permitted to carry a gun in other country’s, because here it’s illegal to carry a gun. On the other hand there are no bears in Holland that can kill you


I am from Holland and for me it’s very strange that you are permitted to carry a gun in other country’s, because here it’s illegal to carry a gun. On the other hand there are no bears in Holland that can kill you.

I agree with you

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You really shouldn’t be allowed to transport guns even for “personal” use.

Argentina travel

Only a few people are psiquically capable of lving with guns.


I am certain that this will NOT change the mood of our national parks. It’s not like people who carry guns go waving them around. If they do, they’re probably loony bins who will do so regardless of the government giving them permission to have that gun in the first place. It’s a statistical fact that most crimes committed with guns are done so by people who are carrying them illegally, so permitting weapons in our parks won’t change a thing.

Thomas Strenge

Those who would do illegal things in parks would do them even with a weapon ban. Besides, an outright weapon ban in unconstitutional. This change in federal law allows law-abiding citizens to carry weapons for self-protection. I’m not sure against bear defense as you would need a huge gun. But the threat from mountain lions and wolves is real. As is the threat from criminals. National parklands are a haven for pot farmers and you never know how they might react to a sudden discovery by hikers. Gunowners are responsible adults and deserve to be treated that way.

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