Permit-holding gun owners don’t threaten parks
Our view: The law-abiding folks with concealed carry permits are not going to spark a crime wave at the campgrounds.
Nobody could expect gun-control advocates to like rules that make it easier to carry concealed weapons. It's just not in their DNA.
But the reaction by some opponents of a U.S. Interior Department rule allowing concealed-weapons permit holders to carry in national parks is just out of touch with reality.
The Brady Campaign, which is suing to block the rule, said it would "jeopardize the safety of park visitors." Sen. Dianne Feinstein wrote in a an Op-Ed that "park visitors expect a safe and enjoyable experience - not loaded guns and stray bullets."
Nobody wants to see shootouts over campsites at Manzanita Lake, but is there any evidence that permit holders are likely to engage in such dangerous activity? By definition, they're law-abiding citizens who've paid fees and subjected themselves to fingerprinting and background checks.
Shasta County is a gun-friendly place, where about 2,500 residents hold active concealed-weapon permits from the Sheriff's Department - a very high number, by California standards, for the size of the county. Even still, Sheriff Tom Bosenko said Friday that he couldn't recall a single gun-related crime by a permit holder in over 30 years. "We issue them to responsible people," he said.
The people to worry about are the ones who carry concealed weapons without a permit, whatever the law says. And frankly, park rangers don't search cars at the entrance stations. They don't stop and frisk backpackers. Compliance with the law is largely on the honor system. Parks are as safe as they are mainly because crooks don't like camping.
Hikers have little reason to pack a firearm in Lassen. And, heck, who wants the extra weight?
But if they're inclined to do so, amply vetted concealed weapons permit holders are the last people we need to fear.
Our view: The law-abiding folks with concealed-carry permits are not going to spark a crime wave at the campgrounds.
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