The Corner

Guns and Parks: A Follow-Up

Apparently some of the Democrats who voted with the NRA didn’t mean to.

Also, someone who knows a lot about the issue wrote in after Heather Mac Donald and I batted it around a little bit last week:

Rep. Rob Bishop has actually been pushing this since 2007. . . . [H]e first offered it as an amendment on the House floor in October of 2007. . . .

-The amendment in the credit card bill will have Park Service lands governed by state and local laws, just [as] the Forest Service and BLM lands have been for decades without problems.

-The other emailer was spot on about the problems with Park Service lands being “checker boarded” throughout state and private lands such as GW Parkway. Very, very few Park Service lands post notice that there is a ban on firearms. . . . [Most people in the East think of] Park Service lands . . . [as] a building on a couple of acres. However, for those in the west, where most of the Park Service’s 87 million acres are located, crossing onto Park Service lands routinely to go about their daily lives is a way of life.

-Park Service lands are not “relatively safe” (National Monuments are not the same as Park Service lands). The crime statistics that are cited for Park Service lands (such as “only nine people were murdered in 2008″) are misleading and only a percentage of the actual crimes. These are only statistics for crimes handled by Park Service law enforcement. They do not include crimes that were committed on Park Service lands but where investigated by other agencies or local law enforcement which is what happen the majority of the time. For example, even though Chandra Levy was found in Rock Creek Parkway her murder was not included in Park Service statistics because it was handled by the DC police department.

-Crime is especially rampant in Parks along the southern border where the Park Service has basically ceded part of the lands over to criminals (Border Patrol is severely limited, even prohibited, in how they can operate on Interior and Forest Service lands…but that is another story). There are also problems with drug cartels and gangs taking over Parks in northern California and Utah. Wildlife biologists are escorted to the field by armed escorts. By armed I mean in tactical gear and M-16s.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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