Friday, March 20, 2009

Guns No Longer Allowed in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park – Again.

Concealed, loaded weapons are no longer allowed in any of the nations National Parks since U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kennedy granted a temporary injunction late Thursday restoring rules that ban loaded, concealed firearms in national parks such as the Great Smoky Mountains.

The court ruling stated that the Bush administration failed to follow federal environmental laws and the safety of park visitors and their experience would be compromised by allowing guns into any of our national parks.

As of this January 9th to the dismay of many environmental organizations, law enforcement personnel and both the Association of National Park Rangers and the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees there was a change in law allowing loaded guns into the GSMNP.

I wish to make clear that I own guns and have done so for more than 30 years but I vehemently appose allowing guns into parks such as the Great Smoky Mountains national park.

Very simply the environment of our national parks such as the Great Smoky Mountains national park does not need armed citizens running around using guns as "protection" against other park visitors or the natural inhabitants.

An argument however can be made that being armed in is some wildlife refuges where there is a dense population of Polar Bear may be of some benefit to visitors. There is no logical need for an across the board allowance of loaded weapons in our nations national parks, wildlife refuges and historical landmarks.

The United States Government has until April 20th to state its "intended course of action" regarding this ruling. If the government is listening to those who work in and around the park and the majority of those who volunteer or visit the park, loaded guns other than those carried by enforcement personnel would never be allowed back into the Great Smoky Mountains national park.

As always I welcome any comments and only delete those that are spam.

Related New Stories on Guns in National Parks:

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30 Comments:

At 3:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

First of all, making it illegal to carry a gun into national parks does nothing to keep them out. Well, except for those who wish to carry for defensive purposes. Criminal types who carry a gun for the purpose of doing evil will not be stopped by a law.

Secondly, having such a law in place assures the evil-doers that they will have a very small chance of meeting armed resistance when they commit their evil deeds. Their victims will be at their mercy unless and until armed law enforcement arrives.

Here in the city, we say when one is under attack and seconds count, the police are minutes away. How many more minutes further away are the armed park rangers? Blount and Sevier County sheriff deputies?

Finally, the wildlife present in the parks can indeed pose a lethal threat to human visitors to their home. They have no moral compunctions over defending their young or obtaining food. They just do it. Again, sans defensive weapon, humans are at their mercy.

Allowing people with handgun carry permits to carry their guns into the park will pose no greater danger to others than when they carry their guns in other places. In fact, other people might even be safer if a fellow visitor is armed. People carry guns in all sorts of places, right next to you, and you are not even aware of it, are you? The same thing would be true when they carry in the parks.

There is no logical reason why people should not carry in parks, just as they do nearly everywhere else.

 
At 8:31 PM, Blogger Cookeville Weather Guy said...

The ONLY thing banning guns from Nat'l Parks does is insure that criminals will be the only ones who are armed.

It is a stupid decision and makes the threat of robbery on or near a trail even more possible.

Typical of the society we are being treated to in the last 60 or so days.

 
At 10:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is great news for hikers and park users. There is no need to have weapons in the Park.

We have just read about angry and mentally unbalanced gun owners shooting members of their family and others in Alabama, Miami, and Germany. I do not think those family members who the gun owners killed would have been safer if they also had guns. I think they would have been safer if there had been no guns in the house.

A hand gun does kill people. That is what it is designed to do.

No one who knows the Park believes a visitor needs a hand gun.

People who claim the opposite have just not spent any time there.

I have been hiking the back country in the Smokies for 16 years. My wife and I are going next week.

 
At 11:16 PM, Blogger tc said...

Exactly how do you figure they aren't "allowing" firearms in the national parks? I could drive up the the Smokies right now and take my 9mm and put it in my backpack and hike whatever trail I wanted to.

What they are doing is making it illegal to carry a firearm in the park and somehow I don't think the "bad guys" are going to care. But you will care when faced with one of them unarmed because you are following the shortsighted rules.

 
At 8:57 PM, Blogger Ashley said...

I do have to take a little exception to the argument that people need guns to protect against animals. Remember, this is their environment and we are just visitors. I think a lot of people are so egocentric that they forget it isn't really about THEM, it is the wildlife that makes so many of our parks special, especially the smokies.

As for the gun law, I have to say I've always been on the fence of gun issues and haven't decided where my feet should land yet.

 
At 1:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 10:05 -
Does logic even exist in your little world? Have you even bothered to look at accurate facts and statistics regarding handgun owners? Those who have handgun carry permits are less likely to misuse their weapons than anyone, including police! As a group, we are not perfect, there will always be someone, somewhere that goes around the bend, but most often, they are NOT permit bearing handgun owner. People go nuts and run other people over with cars - should we ban cars? People go nuts and attack others with knives - should we ban all knives? See the logic yet? You may need to actually think, try not to hurt yourself.


@Ashley -
Take a second to think too, would you?

Of course we are visitors in their home. So, what do you propose, that we not visit?

Or do you think the bears and wild boars will be open to a discussion should we wander into the wrong place - "Oops! Sorry Mrs. Bear, I didn't really mean to cause you concern over your babies, please don't shred me to pieces!"

Or maybe you think that if we come under attack, because we are in their habitat, we simply deserve be injured or killed? We should pay for our mistake with our lives?

Or should we have the right to defend ourselves in the manner in which we choose?

If it took you longer than a second to think all this through, that's OK. But it's really not that complicated.

 
At 9:31 AM, Blogger smoky scout said...

I find it interesting that the only person making sarcastic and derogatory remarks on this topic feels he must remain anonymous - for protection perhaps? He/she seems quick to take insult from people who are simply expressing a different opinion. A person who rushes to judgment in a situation and carries a handgun scares me more than some other potential dangers.

 
At 11:09 AM, Blogger Smokies Hiker said...

Interesting to note that this with discussion and others that I have found and contributed on online, for the most part the people for the ban on guns in national parks are the serious backcountry hikers and campers with the most experience.

I am not stating that these people are smarter or more educated but I am saying that those with extensive backcountry experience that understand the potential threats are able understand them, act proactively to reduce or to avoid them, and are able to cope effectively with a threat without the use of a weapon.

We all accept the fact that we can not bring firearms into many recreation areas such as stadiums or in schools and government facilities which all statistically have far more instances of violent crime than our national parks do.

Worrying about a robbery on a hiking trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park – especially deep in back country is fairly foolish. What criminal wants to walk hours in and hours out of backcountry to rob someone who is normally wearing little jewelry and carrying little cash?

As a victim hikers are generally in better condition to run away or fight back than non hikers, most hikers carry sticks and many have knives.

A far better target to rob is someone in the parking lot of a hotel in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge or Asheville where you can make a quick getaway and chances are they have more valuables and cash on them. Better yet, break into a car or an unoccupied cabin when no one else is around.

In terms of a psycho out to kill you in the woods...stop watching slasher movies!

Interested in making the national parks safer? Don’t feed the bear and tell your congressperson to appropriate more money which can increase the parks budget and personnel for enforcement.

 
At 6:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Smokies Hiker is right. I suspect many of the pro-gun bloggers in this group have never hiked 5 miles in the Park. If they did, they would put away their guns for many reasons, not least of which would be the weight.

Interestingly enough, the gun owners do not sound strong and confident. They sound weak and scared. I detect a lot fear in the gun advocates. They seem to feel under siege. The world is a dark and dangerous place with lurking with "evildoers" and wild boars.

Dear Prudence, put the guns away and come out to play. God made it for you. Have a little faith -- at least as much as the sparrows or the lilies in the field.

 
At 11:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The "Logical Reason" to allow people to carry guns, whether concealed or not in any national park, is that it is our constitutional right and our responsibility to be able to protect ourselves and our families.


Bureaucrats cannot protect us and Park Rangers cannot protect us.

Park Rangers can only come and clean up the mess AFTER someone is hurt or killed by a person or an animal. THAT is logical.

I have hiked hundreds of miles in GSMNP over a thirty-five year period, probably more than you constantly brag about. Fortunately, I have never had an occasion where I have had to defend myself from man or beast, but it can happen. If it does, what is so "illogical about being ready?

 
At 10:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I will make sure to tell the criminal that tries to mug me, or the black bear i stumble across, "Hey, some idiot judge said I cant carry a handgun to protect myself, so please leave me alone" Gosh I hope that works.
you anti gun nuts are idiots. Criminals dont obey the laws so who are you protecting? and maybe it is a one in a million chance that I am robbed or mauled, but i would rather not take that chance. Maybe I just wont visit because I dont feel safe there.

 
At 9:40 AM, Blogger Smokies Hiker said...

Well Anonymous poster from 10:18 PM last night, the "idiot" judge Colleen Kollar-Kennedy made a ruling based upon a law which was broken. Blame the people who wrote the original laws.

I guess you are referring to me as one of the "anti gun nut" "idiots".

I am not anti gun - I own 2 - and I am a card carrying member of the NRA. Firearms can be of tremendous value in some situations in the hands of well trained persons.

Be sure that when you see me on a hiking trail to ask me to show you my Department of Corrections ID card. I will be glad to show it to you though it’s a little worn from more than 10 years of using it to get into maximum security prisons.

There are national parks with HUGE crime problems and VERY dangerous animals that inhabit the park. In those parks for crime prevention and protection against animals, the argument for carrying firearms has far more validity than for the Great Smoky Mountains national park.

Very simply, the GSMNP is safer than most cities and towns. I would be willing to stack the numbers against where you live. I presume you feel safe in you own home town or you would move.

My question to you is: "Where do you feel safe enough to be unarmed?"

 
At 1:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There goes Smokies Hiker bragging again!!

What does your Dept. of Corrections I.D. Card have to do with any of this?

By the way, why don't you ask the families of the two women murdered on the A.T. a few years ago about the government telling people they have no right to defend themselves against evil people.

As for a criminal not wanting to walk for hours into the back country to rob someone..... Remember Eric Roudolph?

 
At 3:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One pro-gun blogger wrote: "I have hiked hundreds of miles in GSMNP over a thirty-five year period, probably more than you constantly brag about. Fortunately, I have never had an occasion where I have had to defend myself from man or beast."

Friend, if you have never had a need for a gun in the GSMNP after hiking for 35 years over hundreds of miles, why do you suddenly feel a need to carry weapons into the Park now? You are not listening to yourself. Your testimony is evidence that guns are not needed.

I just got back from a 4 full day trip to the Park. I hiked 56 miles in day hikes. ascending some 9,000 feet including LeCompte, Brushy Mountain and Gregory Bald. First big hike was all cold rain and fog; last big hike was sunny, breezey and clear as crystal. It was awesome.

There was never a situation that even hinted at a need for a gun.

 
At 9:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To annonymous who wrote on March 31st at 3:57pm.

First of all I am not a "pro gunner" I am PRO-LIBERTY as long as I am not hurting anyone else. If I choose to carry a gun, THAT DOES NOT HURT ANYONE ELSE...GET IT?

Have you ever met me? No. You have no basis to judge who or what I am.

As for never needing to defend myself, I am lucky. I do not "suddenly" feel a need to carry a gun in the park. I have felt the need all along, but the boneheads in Washington don't have a clue.

I hope I never need to use a gun in a bad situation, but if I ever need to defend myself, or YOU, I would like to be prepared.

"Be Prepared"....I think I've heard that somewhere before.

 
At 7:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You seem to be focusing a lot of energy preparing to deal with negative situations when, based on your own 35 years experience hiking in the Park, the chances of those events occuring are remote. You may end up being unprepared for the many good things you know will happpen.

By the way, do you bring your gun when you go to church? I hope not.

 
At 12:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I myself think guns in the Smokies is a bad idea. My wife and I have traveled in the park for the last 20some years. And never have I had a wild animal threatedn to kill me or my family. When you're in the Smokies, you're not in Central park in New York City

 
At 1:28 PM, Anonymous Brad Hornsby said...

My name is Brad Hornsby, I am a 21 year old who has been trained in handgun safety and marksmanship with my own personal handgun. I live in a small Alabama town in Franklin County so I am not new to the outdoors.
I went hiking for my first time in the Smokies last year and ended up with close to 20 miles in 3 days. The first day of backpacking, my two friends and I saw a bear. It walked across our trail despite us being loud enough for it to hear us coming. We were very careful with our food, packs were hung on bear cables, and all trash and food leftovers were kept in secure air-tight bags.
Not only did the bear force an encounter with humans that she heard coming a long way off, but she would continue to follow us from a distance off, stalking us for around 4 to 5 miles.
As if that wasn't enough, we camped that night and awoke the next morning to a different bear that came barreling down a steep embankment to our camp and continued to approach us up to about 15 feet.
The entire time, all I could think about is what I should do if the bear was to attack my friend. What I should do if it attacked me?
So, on my first trip ever to the Smokies, I had two bear encounters, one that lasted about half a day (being stalked). I think that is enough evidence to allow firearms in the park.
The entire three days we had no cell phone service. So park rangers are kind of a ridiculous gesture that they claim enhance hikers' safety.
The only people who handgun ban laws hinder are people who would use their firearm in a totally legal way. The people they are intended to stop are people who want to use their firearms for no good, these people who are law-breakers will not be affected by handgun bans in the slightest.
I just wonder why the pro gun ban people are so excitable when it comes to this issue? Sounds like they just want to argue, being that a lift on the ban would not affect them in any way other than maybe protecting them.

 
At 11:55 AM, Blogger Smokies Hiker said...

According to the US Fish and Wildlife Department:

...since 1992, persons encountering grizzlies and defending themselves with firearms suffer injury about 50% of the time. During the same period, persons defending themselves with pepper spray escaped injury most of the time, and those that were injured experienced shorter duration attacks and less severe injuries.Seems like a gun is not the answer for a bear attack does it? Further studies prove this point.

Problem is, it appears as if bear spray is illegal in the Great Smoky Mountains national park and when questions have been raised because of conflicting statements made by people in the GSM national park, we have been stonewalled for a week, but promised an answer any day now.

Brad Hornsby, when an issue occurs such as yours it is imperative that it is reported to the national park service. They need to know to "condition" the bear or destroy it.

Gun or Bear Spray? As an informed gun owner I choose spray BUT I must wait until it becomes legal before I will carry it into the park.

 
At 12:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think people here need to understand what freedom is. You can not impose your idea and will on others. Just because you think guns are bad and people should not be able to carry one into the park. Should not stop some who wants to bring the gun into the park. To many laws are trying to impose other peoples ideas and restrict others freedoms. Freedom is to do what you want as long as it does not take away from on other persons freedoms. A person should be able to carry a gun anywhere he/she wants. But what makes the choice to use that in an improper way he/she should suffer the consequences of the law.

 
At 4:05 PM, Blogger Smokies Hiker said...

Freedom is a good argument however, we don't allow guns in many public places such as:

1) Airports
2) Prisons
3) Schools
4) Government Buildings

Do these restrictions hinder the freedom of all gun owners? Sure they do but the decision to keep guns out of these places is based upon the safety and security of people who work in, visit our use these facilities.

We want freedom of speech but we don't want people to yell "fire" in a crowded movie theater.

The rights and freedoms of an individual may and will be compromised so that society as a whole has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

 
At 2:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have grown up with guns my entire life. Guns are tools, and everyone has heard guns don't kill people people kill people.

Having a carry permit makes me feel good knowing I can carry a gun if I want. Bad people need to know good people are carrying guns. Not just rangers and cops. How many times have you heard of a cop getting mugged or raped? How many times could a good person saved someone from a horrible sernerio if they had more than a whistle, pepper spray, or knife? How often does crime happen right in front of cops? These are things we need to ask ourselves.

If I am out in the middle of the woods. I would want to save my wife or my son or your daughter from any impending danger. I would want you to want to save me as well. I would bet if someone really had that one in a million problem and they were saved by someone with a handgun that was not supposed to have it. That person would agree to testify on behalf of the person that saved him/her not against them for carrying a gun.

Maybe if you could carry guns, and you killed a bear when it attacked you there should still be a large fine. That would insure people being smart on both sides.. Just a thought..

This debate is ongoing and will keep on after most of us are all dead from pollution. Please be safe and keep your souls healthy!

 
At 10:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment is directed to ''Smokies Hiker''. Hiker,my name is James,just in case someone wants to make a case of the fact that I have registered as anonymous.
Hiker, how are your freedoms restricted by someone carring a gun into an area in which guns are prohibited ? The fact of the matter is that no ones rights are deminished by the mere fact that someone else is carring a gun.Also ,neither are your rights protected in any manner by gun prohibition laws.As evidence of that fact are the numurous school,church,workplace and random mass shootings that have occoured,many of them in areas where guns were prohibited and no one could protect themselves.And then there is 9-11,which of those 2000 plus victims were benifitted in any way what so ever by gun prohibition laws ? The fact of the matter is that yes sometimes it is good to sacrifice minor individual freedoms so that all can be free.However,the right to bare arms and defend one's self is not a minor right,but in fact a natural right that is not negated simply because you are in a national park.And again no one's freedoms nor their safty is enhanced by gun prohibition,history has proven that over and over again.

Gun control advocates do not seem to be able to admit to the fact that criminals,particularly the most dangerous criminals, are not going to abide by gun prohibition measures,leaving those persons who obey the law at grave risk of harm from armed criminals.I can only wonder as to why those who support gun control believe that people are obligated to remain unarmed while dangerous thugs and persons who go off the deep end so to speak,are known to commit crimes,even mass murder with guns.

To you gun prohibition supporters; my final statement is that you did not give me my life,therefore you do not have any right to demand that I risk my life by being unarmed in the event that a firearm is needed to save my life.

 
At 3:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My right to protect myself as an individual surpasses your opinions and that of any Government. Many of you forget how this Nation was founded and what made it great. Go back and read the Constitution. It's not corny, nor antiquated, nor only from "another time"...The rights to Individual Property and Protection is what makes this Country Great...I have a right to defend myself!!! (SINCE YOU WILL NOT!!!)

 
At 3:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you all forget the Case for Concealed in Washington DC? The nation's crime capital has the highest murder rate and guns are not allowed for their citizens...how do you explain? Simply: Bad guys carry out their deeds on those who they know cannot defend themselves with the same type of weapon. The same thing can happen anywhere in the good ol' USA.

 
At 6:40 PM, Blogger Smokies Hiker said...

Since this article was written, there have been some changes in the park.

1) Bear spray is now legal for use in the Great Smoky Mountains national park.

2) Firearms will be allowed in all national parks and wildlife refuges such as the Great Smoky Mountains national park on February 22nd 2010 as per a provision in the credit card reform bill.

The following statement used to be on the park web site and has been removed from this page in the past few days presumably to spell out how this new law will affect visitors:

"Change in Concealed Weapons Regulations

Due to recently enacted Federal law, there will be significant changes in the firearms regulations pertaining to the National Park Service which will take effect on February 22, 2010.

Until the new regulations takes effect, carrying a concealed firearms is not allowed and all possession of firearms within National Park Service lands must be in accordance with 36 CFR 2.4, which states firearms must be "rendered temporarily inoperable or are packed, cased or stored in a manner that prevents their ready use."

Information concerning the new regulations will be posted prior to the February 2010 implementation date."


I do not need to restate my position on firearms being allowed in all National Parks, Wildlife Refuges, historic landmarks, national seashores and other areas under NPS control, but I will.

As a responsible outdoorsman, card carrying NRA member and concealed carry permit holder, I am deeply saddened by this change in law banning guns in national park coming onto effect that will ultimately make it harder to prosecute poachers, lead to more vandalism, and endangering our Park Rangers, visitors and inhabitants.

I will be sure to post any crimes committed by anyone carrying guns in the park (such as the poaching of Bull Elk #21 in Cataloochee) and those that have been saved by providing their own "personal protection". Time will prove who is right and who is wrong in this debate

Lastly, it’s very interesting to note that Republican president Ronald Regan took guns out of the parks and Democratic president Barak Obama signed into law a bill to let them back in.

 
At 8:42 PM, Blogger Smokies Hiker said...

New detailed park statement about firearms are legal in the Great Smoky Mountains national park as of 2/22/10

 
At 1:33 PM, Anonymous Isaac M said...

@ Smokies Hiker. Hey, great article, great website. I'm researching a paper I plan to write about the new gun carrying laws concerning the NPS. I backpack mainly now in the GSMNP, so those woods have become a part of me. and the elk...what a gift. Anyhow, I'm trying to dig up as much dirt as I can in terms of evidence. i.e. accidental discharges, or specifically I am looking for cases where hikers carrying a gun have still been mauled by bears. I think it happens a lot and want some proof. Any ideas, or directions where you could point me? I am no bleeding heart liberal, either. I believe guns have a place, as well as hunting, just not in the GSMNP. Maybe Montana. If you live in Montana you probably won't 'act a fool'. and the story about bull elk #21...what a bummer. what a coward! Not to mention I do not want to be mistaken for a bear. I don't mean to be lazy and request someone else do the legwork for my paper, actually i have dozens of printed pages already. You seemed like a guy who knows what's going on and offered to continue posting more related stories anyhow. The dumb rednecks carrying in the nps keep saying the same handful of exceptional arguments, getting very defensive. Our side needs some more fresh, solid stats and past news articles to emphasize the point. For all who read this and think i'm a tree hugger you are poorly mistaken. I just don't have a need to carry my piece on the trail, maybe just to have an excuse to play with it and where a holster...a real friggin cowboy. neato. I can empathize though, when I was a little boy, solo camping in the back half of our property, I would pull the sleeping bag over my head and close my eyes real tight. Sometimes I'd even think I heard something, or saw a funny shape. SCAAAAAARY. Now I'm 6' 5", 225lbs. I don't need a gun. I carry weights in my pack just to stay fit. All who think it imperative to carry in the backcountry: YOU ARE A JOKE TO ME. and DON'T FLASH YOUR PIECE ON THE TRAIL. IT WILL RUIN MY TIME WITH NATURE. Does that seem peculiar to you? Well I will admit that I have a semi-uncontrollable desire to smash your f@#*ing trail gun in between a couple of rocks.

 
At 2:54 PM, Blogger Smokies Hiker said...

Here is a start for your project from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from a fact sheet:

Bear Spray vs. Bullets Which offers better protection?

At first glance, this question may seem like a no-brainer. After all, aren’t guns made to kill, while pepper spray (so-called "bear spray," when it comes in big cans) does not? Unlike an attack by a human assailant, who may be able to use your own weapon against you, that safety/survival argument for using pepper spray doesn’t apply to a human-bear encounter... or does it?

When it comes to self defense against grizzly bears, the answer is not as obvious as it may seem.

In fact, experienced hunters are surprised to find that despite the use of firearms against a charging bear, they were attacked and badly hurt. Evidence of human-bear encounters even suggests that shooting a bear can escalate the seriousness of an attack, while encounters where firearms are not used are less likely to result in injury or death of the human or the bear.

While firearms can kill a bear, can a bullet kill quickly enough -- and can the shooter be accurate enough -- to prevent a dangerous, even fatal, attack?

The question is not one of marksmanship or clear thinking in the face of a growling bear, for even a skilled marksman with steady nerves may have a slim chance of deterring a bear attack with a gun. Law enforcement agents for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have experience that supports this reality -- based on their investigations of human-bear encounters since 1992, persons encountering grizzlies and defending themselves with firearms suffer injury about 50% of the time.

During the same period, persons defending themselves with pepper spray escaped injury most of the time, and those that were injured
experienced shorter duration attacks and less severe injuries. Canadian bear biologist Dr. Stephen Herrero reached similar conclusions based on his own research -- a person’s chance of incurring serious injury from a charging grizzly doubles when bullets are fired versus when bear spray is used.

Awareness of bear behavior is the key to mitigating potential danger. Detecting signs of a bear and avoiding interaction, or understanding defensive bear behaviors, like bluff charges, are the best ways of escaping injury.

The Service supports the pepper spray policy of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, which states that bear spray is not a substitute for following proper bear avoidance safety techniques, and that bear spray should be used as a deterrent only in an aggressive or attacking confrontation with a bear.

Like seatbelts, bear spray saves lives. But just as seatbelts don’t make driving off a bridge safe, bear spray is not a shield against deliberately seeking out or attracting a grizzly bear. No deterrent is 100% effective, but compared to all others, including firearms, proper use of bear spray has proven to be the best method for fending off threatening and attacking bears, and for preventing injury to the person ,band animal involved.

Because the grizzly bear is federally protected in the Lower 48 States as a threatened species, it is a violation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to shoot one, except in self defense and defense of others during an imminent attack. Penalties under the ESA include up to 6 months in prison and a $100,000 fine. Additional penalties may also apply to violations of state law.

...End of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service fact sheet number 8

 
At 2:56 PM, Blogger Smokies Hiker said...

The memo in the previous post shows why I wanted bear spray rather than guns in national parks - especially the Great Smoky Mountains national park.

Grizzlies are obviously much more dangerous than black bear are and look at how effective bear spray is on them.

Since guns are legal in the NPS now expect poaching to increase as well as vandalism and negligent discharges or injuries from friendly fire.

It's not that many or most gun owners are bad, its that of you had a gun before in the park you were a criminal and should have and would have been treated as such.

I feel for everyone wearing a NPS uniform and the increased risk they are now exposed to as well as the animals that inhabit the park.

Contact US Fish and Wildlife and the state of TN and NC for more detailed information about this and other studies.

 

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