Armed Americans in National Parks? YES!


By: Doug Hagin

There is a storm brewing in America. The storm is over controversial issues, gun rights, and gun control. This saga will play out in the next weeks, or months, or a year, who knows. At issue is whether American citizens ought to be allowed to exercise their constitutional rights by carrying their firearms in America’s national parks.

Now of course, this is a hot button issue, and it has so far been filled with the same anti-gun rhetoric proponents of self-defense and the Second Amendment have heard for decades now.

The original effort to allow Americans to exercise their God-given, constitutionally protected rights began with a proposed bill by Republican Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. The bill would allow the application of state laws concerning the carrying of firearms to citizens visiting national parks. Seems like common sense doesn’t it? Why should a law-abiding citizen be expected to cede their rights to protect themselves in a national park? Frankly, the answer is very simple. They should not.

Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne announced his desire for a review and possible overhaul of federal regulations of carrying firearms in national parks. The National Rifle Association, to their credit, supports Coburn’s legislation, and I would argue that all Americans who see the benefit of concealed carry laws and the ultimate right of self-defense would also be supportive of this change. Americans ought never be asked, or forced to choose between being able to defend themselves and breaking laws that only benefit those intent on committing evil acts.

Ah, but, my friends, the Liberals who neither respect the Constitution nor subscribe to common sense, are, pardon the pun, up in arms over this! Yes, they are in the process of pulling out every tired, false prediction of death and doom if Americans are allowed their rightful liberties. You have heard the rhetoric before, surely you have. There will be blood in the parks, danger at every turn, wildlife will be butchered, and disputes over campsites will turn bloody, and so on. These are the same types of inane arguments used in every state that now rightly allows law-abiding Americans to carry firearms under concealed carry laws.

These arguments have proven to be wrong time and time again. States that do allow concealed carry, and that is 34 states as of 2008, have NOT seen increased violence, or Wild West shootouts or the predicted “blood in the streets”. Instead, those states have consistently shown that these laws usually decrease violent crimes. The reason for this is very simple really. Criminals do not respect laws. Surely the asinine notion that creating “gun-free zones” will make us safer has been disproved with the various school shootings.
The evil people who committed these murderous acts did not see a deterrent in gun free zones. Instead, they saw easy prey. Folks, the bad guys are not hindered by feel-good, intellectually bankrupt ideals. They are, instead aided by them. The fact is the law-abiding are victimized more easily by those who do not obey laws when the law strips away the sacred right of self-defense. The Founding Fathers knew this, and any person who thinks, rather than feels about this issue knows it as well.

The fact proven by concealed carry laws is this. These laws make all of us safer, not less safe. Those opposed to this proposed legislation can whine about keeping our national parks “family-friendly” sanctuaries all day long. The fact is the presence of firearms in the hands of concealed carry permit holders does not threaten families, rather, evidence shows it PROTECTS families. The left can throw all their false stats and their emotionalistic talking points around all they want.

They can, and do with regularity, argue that very few gun owners use their guns to stop crimes. That is false and they damned well know it! They gladly quote stats showing that most gun deaths are not attributed to cases of self-defense. OK, but they exclude the fact that well over 90% of defensive gun uses do not involve the law-abiding citizen shooting anyone. Simply brandishing the weapon ends the threat. No one dies; no trigger-happy gun nut goes on a killing spree. Instead, a prepared and armed American defends themselves, or their loved ones or property, not by shooting the bad guy, but rather by showing that they are not a helpless victim. Predatory criminals, like all predators, prefer easy targets.

I speak not just from statistics or news stories on this. In 1998, as I left the restaurant I managed in downtown Dallas, I was confronted by an armed robber. There was no police, no touchy-feely gun control advocate; there was just the bad guy and me in a very dark alley. If not for my being armed with a Colt .45 I would have been robbed, and who knows what else? However, because I was armed and prepared, it was the bad guy, the criminal, that was forced to choose between retreating, which he did, and being harmed.

I can also speak from the perspective of a person who has hiked many miles in national parks. I have never been threatened, or harmed, but I have come across some individuals that made me uncomfortable. Perhaps, I had nothing to fear from these few individuals. Perhaps, my considerable size, and confident, prepared style prevented them from trying anything. However, what if I was a woman, hiking alone? What IF I was obeying the laws and was not armed? What IF one of those people who made me uneasy WAS a predator? Tell me, do you really think THEY would not try to harm me? Do you really think a law would stop them? No, indeed not. However, an armed woman, hiking alone? That would be much more likely to stop them.

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