National park gun restriction lifted
A long-standing ban on carrying guns in national parks has been lifted.
Beginning this week, visitors at the nearly 400 U.S. national parks will be allowed to carry firearms as long as they follow state regulations. That means that individuals with permits will be allowed to bring loaded, concealed weapons into parks if the state allows it.
Guns will not be permitted in visitor centers and rangers' office buildings, however, since they are considered federal facilities and firearms are prohibited in all U.S. federal buildings.
According to the Washington Post, differing state restrictions make understanding the new law difficult, especially for parks that occupy more than one state.
"The burden for the public rests with knowing what the law is in the state that you're in, in a similar way that you have to know the automotive or marriage license laws of the state you're in," said National Park Service spokesman David Barna.
The change reverses a law enacted in the 1980s that prohibited guns in national parks. Gun rights advocates say the lift on the ban will make parks safer. Others insist that allowing guns in the country's parks will alter the feelings of solitude and safety many associate with them.
Hunting is still illegal in national parks.