Since the “credit card bill” was signed into law, that meant the amendment allowing concealed carry in national parks also became law. As expected, the hoplophobes are out in force. Courtesy of The Volokh Conspiracy, we get a piece in the New York Times presenting various opinions on the matter.
Why do I want concealed carry in national parks (well, I’d like it everywhere I’m allowed to go, but let’s keep this discussion on national parks)? Because there is no magical line or barrier that keeps evil folks out of certain places. The only thing that, until this law was passed, that kept concealed guns out of national parks was law — and only law abiding folks obeyed it; criminals, by definition, still toted their concealed guns and always presented a danger to you. Just because you were unaware of this doesn’t mean it’s not true. While national parks are filled with beauty, they are also filled with other things: criminals. From marijuana growers to meth labs, to rapists and assaults, to illegal aliens crossing the border and not wanting to get caught, these things are very much alive and well in national parks. National parks aren’t just the small little areas that visitors tend to frequent, but hundreds or thousands of acres of “unimproved” land, all to easy for illegal activity to occur and for those undertaking it to want to keep it that way. Hiking through the back-country, the last thing you want to stumble upon is some meth lab and the cookers wanting to ensure you don’t tell anyone what you found. We also can’t forget that large animals exist, and while attacks are rare they are not out of the question. Being able to carry your .44 magnum revolver or a 10mm Glock is like most any gun carrying: you hope and want to never need it, but if the time comes that you need it you’ll be thankful that you have it be the predator 2-legged or 4-legged.
So they say this will increase poaching. How so? Fact is poaching occurs as it is. It’s terrible, it’s already illegal. In fact, in many places poaching is a felony. Guess what? If you’re a felon, you cannot legally own guns and that certainly means you must give up your concealed handgun license. If you want to keep your license, you’re not going to poach. Most if not all people that get their licenses wish to keep them. Data shows that folks with concealed carry licenses are more law abiding than your average citizen. Law says no poaching, concealed carry folks won’t be poaching.
The streets park hiking paths will flow with blood. This was trotted out years ago, and in the many years we’ve had licensed concealed carry in this country it just has not happened. Again, folks that go through the trouble of getting a concealed handgun license are also very interested in keeping it. Take a look at what it takes to get a license and consequently what it takes to keep it. We’re not out looking for blood and to settle any score. We’re only out to preserve our life should someone decide to endanger it. If you’re a good person, then you have nothing to worry about because we’re good people too.
Folks, all the things you’re afraid of already happen. There are already laws on the books prohibiting that behavior. Allowing law-abiding citizens to go about their business will not make things worse. In fact, the intent is to make things better. Now that guy cooking meth or sneaking over the border, he’s going to have to think twice about shooting you because after 22 February 2010 he’s going to know that you just might shoot back.