Friday, February 22, 2008

He loves me, he loves me not

It seems the Bush administration can't figure out what they support. First, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) backs individual rights for firearms ownership, then Bush said he would sign an "assault weapons ban" renewal a month later. Then Bush signs The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act in October of 2005, then the DoJ backs DC in the Heller case in January of this year.

Then we get some good news via VCDL:
"VCDL has just learned that the Department of the Interior (DOI) is beginning the process of allowing the lawful carry of firearms for self-defense in National Parks!!!!!"

This is good. For those who think nefarious acts will come from this, let me put your mind at ease.

"It will embolden poachers!" No, it won't give poachers a legal means to shoot animals. This bill does not allow people to shoot animals on park lands, nor does it enable people to shoot signs or target practice. Poachers are criminals and are breaking the law. Having associated with a poacher or two in my time, I can accurately say that laws and signs do not give them a moment's pause.

"People will shoot some poor Elk that is attacking their car that is not really a threat!" This may happen from time to time, but there are already laws in place for this. Someone who does something stupid will be tried and go to prison. Park Rangers don't play around. This bill does not allow someone to shoot an animal or person who is damaging or stealing their property.

There are reasons for this bill. Under current law, you have to pull over, unload your gun, and stick it out of reach. This may sound trivial to some, but there are endless opportunities to have this backfire on some law abiding person.

About four years ago, I was a passenger in a commercial van driving out of a subdivision here in VA. We were pulled over by a Park Ranger who stated, to our surprise, that a 200 yard stretch of the road that we were driving on was owned by the Park. We were on it. I had a Glock 20 in my lunchbox and informed the Ranger when he asked if we had any weapons in the vehicle. He detained us using handcuffs, checked our credentials including my Concealed Handgun Permit, and told me that it is useless on park property. After about an hour, we were cleared of any past or present criminal actions and the Ranger kindly gave me back my pistol. He could have put me in prison. That's one example.

Another is that there is a stretch of park road that is about 1/4 of a mile long that is a great shortcut between my house and my parents. I have to drive several miles around because the government does not trust me to drive down a road that I pay for, through a park that I pay for, and enforces it with a law enforcement officer that I pay for.

Another is that people want to be able to lock their firearm in the glovebox when traveling through a national park. This a safety concern. Their are people who like to carry in this manner. Think of their children!

Many folks face similar problems with national parks every day. This bill will not allow idiots to shoot wildly into the air. It will allow folks who are armed for their safety to prevent things like this. Park land is our land that we paid for and we should be safe and legal to lawfully carry on it.

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