Sunday, May 11, 2008

Do we really need concealed weapons in State Parks?... YES!!!

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The Department of the Interior has opened a 60 day comment period for people to comment on allowing persons with valid Concealed Weapons Permits to carry concealed weapons within National Parks and wildlife refuges... The vast majority of the Appalachian Trail in Virginia runs through National Forest areas and some areas designated as Wilderness....

Interior Department Opens Public Comment Period on Proposed Park and Refuge Firearm Regulations


WASHINGTON, D.C. - Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne today announced the beginning of a 60-day public comment period on updates to regulations regarding the carrying of firearms in national parks and wildlife refuges. The proposed update to existing regulations would allow an individual to carry a concealed weapon in national parks and wildlife refuges if, and only if, the individual is permitted to carry a concealed weapon and is authorized to do so on similar state lands in the state in which the national park or refuge is located. The proposed update is available in the Federal Register and on http://www.doi.gov/


I have almost completed the entire Virginia section of the Appalachian Trail and have met many different people along the trail and in shelters. The vast majority have been day hikers and thru-hikers and interested in enjoying the natural resources provided and protected by the Department of the Interior. I have also assisted on mountain rescue\first aid assists on the trail and have had the opportunity to talk with several Rangers and National Forest personnel. While the majority of incidents discussed were of positive nature, they have been reports of unfortunate incidents along the trail as well. Following is a report of a incident that just took place this past weekend.
Randall Lee Smith, who pleaded guilty to the 1981 murders of two hikers on the Appalachian Trail, is in custody after a double shooting Tuesday night just a few miles from the site of the previous crime.

The shooting occurred between Giles and Bland counties around the Dismal Creek area, authorities said.Virginia State Police apprehended Randall Lee Smith after he crashed a black 2000 Ford Ranger pickup truck that matched the description of one possibly involved in the shooting, said Virginia State Police spokesman Sgt. Michael Conroy.
Sheila and Melissa Miller, sisters who helped the injured fishermen call 911, identified the victims as Sean Farmer of Tazewell, who was shot in the chest and face, and Scott Johnston of Bluefield, Va., who was shot three times in the neck. Johnston is in serious but stable condition, said Carilion hospital spokesman Eric Earnhart.
Some people have commented against allowing persons with valid Concealed Weapons Permits to carry concealed firearms within the parks. They feel this will contribute to incidents and the parks are not an appropriate place for guns to be carried. The fact is that by allowing valid CWP holders to carry "Concealed" weapons they will not be seen by the general public and will also put that doubt in the mind of the shooter described above. The simple fact of allowing Concealed weapons within the parks will deter criminals like the above from taking action without knowing who else in the crowd might be armed. Imagine if valid concealed weapon permit holders were allowed to carry at Virginia Tech last year before that incident happened? The fact is that criminals DO NOT obey gun laws and the private citizen, with a valid concealed weapons permit should be allowed to protect himself, his family, and other innocent bystanders in public...



As of yet security precautions as shown in the above photo is not needed...

10 comments:

Jim H. said...

Hi Steve -- so good to meet a fellow conservative on the trail. I knew when we walked up and you were holding that American flag that we were in good company.

I am totally in support of law abiding citizens being armed at all times in all places and will continue to check your blog for more information on this.

KOOCH said...

When evaluating proposed changes it is instructive to look for similar cases in the past. The anti gun lobby likes to portray those that carry as nuts leaving wide swaths of destruction behind them. When Florida was proposing right to carry legislation in the 1990s, the anti gun lobby portrayed an impending disaster of biblical proportions, mass carnage, mayhem in the state, streets awash with blood, deaths by gunshot going through the roof. In fact after more than 10 years of right to carry, almost no crimes can be traced back to properly registered permit holders in Florida or in any other right to carry state. The bottom line is the antigun lobby was wrong. Why should we buy their arguments when history has proved them wrong.

While I do not personally own any firearms, I am glad for those who own firearms and carry. It protects me as the criminal has to ask himself, is he armed or not. It is important to support the right to carry in our public lands.

Dennis Neal said...

Is it legal to open carry in parks? While I've got nothing against concealed carry (especially in urban areas), I think open carry is more appropriate in such a setting (less people to freak at the sight.) I tend to subscribe to the 19th century feelings about concealed weapons -- that they're the province of the pimp, the coward and the criminal -- but with a nod toward modern "sensitivities" that concealed carry is probably less intrusive and alarming in urban settings.
In woods or parks, though, why not just openly strap it on? Wouldn't that be more deterring?

RightsideVA said...

Open carry is permitted in most places of Virginia except govt buildings, scholls, and if public notice of no carry allowed, etc. You are allowed in the "Parks" area that allow hunting and you need to check restrictions. Appalachian Trail allowed only in places where its not in Blue Ridge Parkway and Shenandoah NP which is very few areas.

I have seen people open carry while hiking on some trails. Has never been a real problem but its the guy who is carrying illegel that is the problem. I have a CW permit and believe the deterrent comes from not knowing who is armed. I have run into some questionable people on the trail and believe it is best just to move on and keep an eye over your shoulder...

The real problem is that the person who is going to commit the crime does not care about laws and we can take the advantage away from them if they do not know who else might be armed. Imagine if the Va Tech shooter started his illegel shooting spree only to be facing a person with a concealed weapons permit who had a concealed pistol once he started shooting? If it was open carry the shooter would know who is potential problem and could be deterred by that but I think the question of who might be carrying is also very beneficial...

It is unfortunate that we have to look at being armed while going to school as a solution. Unfortunately the criminals do not pay attention to laws and the honest private citizen should be allowed to defend himself, his family, and others...

Dennis,
You are missing all of the GOP mess going on up here with the local party. Some things never change...

Dennis Neal said...

Agree with you on all points regarding the Trail (and concealed/open carry). I just wasn't certain about the regs, as I'd prefer to open carry in such a location and carry concealed in urban areas -- just a personal quirk.
As for the stuff going on back there, I really DON'T miss it ... I'm still shuttling between Norfolk and BV until my house gets sold and staying up to date via the Web. As usual, the sky is whatever color the party poohbahs declare it to be on a given day. Oh well -- the great Karmic wheel spins slowly, but it still spins!

RightsideVA said...

Dennis,

Good point for carrying in open while in urban areas would attract unwanted attention by those who would be uncomfortable too seeing somebody armed.

On the trail I conceal most of the time but open casrry would be beneficial to let potential person looking for trouble from taking that cheapshot or worse.

The thought of having to carry concealed in a school room (college) is sad but after VaTech were are at a point where we have to consider self defense of the honest person. Hard to imagine but then again 7 years ago we could not fathom our own airliners slamming into tall towers and the Pentagon...

Dennis Neal said...

Amen, bro.

Fred said...

You never know when you will encounter a golfball on the trail!!

Dog Party said...

Is there an ETA on the CCW on National Parklands resolution? I'm just trying to figure out what holster to take next time I go out.

Also, anyone know about NC's state forest carry laws? I find myself hopping down into NC often. Them being a VA CCW reciprocal state, it sure would be nice if I could deal with marginally similar carry laws between the two states while in the National Parklands.

By the way...what a refreshing blogspot to run across!

RightsideVA said...

Public comment period should be up in a week or so. I renewed my permit and asked the officer what he thought of it and he did not think the bill has a chance for it will be up to the Park Service to decide and they do not want carry permits allowed in the parks.

Best to check with NC's govt sites to find out if allowed.

Thanks for stopping by...