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Bishop Hails Passage of Amendment Restoring 2nd Amendment Rights on National Park Land

May 20, 2009
Press Release


Washington, DC—Today, Rob Bishop (R-UT), Ranking Member of the National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee, praised the passage of legislation that will restore Second Amendment rights on federal lands.

Congressman Bishop was the original pioneer of efforts to reverse outdated laws that prevent individuals complying with federal and state laws from exercising their right to carry a concealed firearm while visiting national parks and wildlife refuges. Since October of 2007, Bishop consistently offered amendments on numerous bills, both in Committee and on the House floor, to restore these Second Amendment rights.

"I am thankful that my Democrat colleagues recognize the importance of this legislation, which rectifies incongruous federal law that was confusing and complicated for citizens residing in states that permit concealed firearms and allow open carry," said Congressman Bishop. "Law-abiding citizens will now have the ability to travel freely across national park lands without being subject to outdated federal laws that only served to victimize those exercising their second amendment right to carry."

Over the last 30 years, a significant number of states have passed laws allowing citizens to legally carry concealed firearms. The Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) have long been governed by state gun laws without problem. However, the National Park Service (NPS) failed to recognize the second amendment laws and for years banned firearms on NPS land. Senator Coburn's amendment to H.R. 627 will provide continuity between the state and federal laws.

Specifically, this legislation ensures that unelected bureaucrats and judges cannot override the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens on National Park System and Fish and Wildlife land in states permitting concealed firearms.

"As I have stated before, the real victor of today's legislation is citizens like Damon Gettier, a businessman, Army veteran and concealed weapons permit holder under Virginia law, who was convicted of violating Park Service gun restrictions. The Blue Ridge Parkway, widely used as a highway in Virginia, also serves as a scenic overlook in the Shenandoah National Park. Some of the most heavily traveled roads in Virginia, such as the George Washington Parkway, are managed by the Park Service. In fact, it would take a lot of careful planning to drive through the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C. without crossing a Park Service road. No signs warn drivers, and given the volume of traffic on these roads, the regulations were essentially unenforceable except for an unlucky few. To show just how unjust the situation is, the federal judge in front of whom Mr. Gettierappeared, confessed that he himself had no idea it was unlawful to have a firearm in his car in a National Park and he himself had broken the law several times. Nevertheless, Mr. Gettierwas penalized," Bishop added.