Saturday, May 23, 2009

Guns are still not allowed in the Great Smoky Mountains national park – at least not yet...

Firearms that are loaded have been long banned from the Great Smoky Mountains national park since President Regan signed into law that guns in national parks must be unloaded and inaccessible.

Now thanks to bill just signed into law, over the dismay of most citizens, law enforcement personnel, fraternal order of park rangers and retired rangers, guns will no longer be illegal in the Great Smoky Mountains national park in late February 2010.

Until late February 2010, concealed weapons and loaded firearms of any sort are still illegal in the Great Smoky Mountains national park (GSMNP) and along the Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP).

The Department of the Interior now has 9 months to get their act together in order to figure out all of the ramifications of this law especially since the GSMNP and the BRP both have multi-state jurisdiction issues.

To make matters even more interesting, the law depends upon the state law in which the national park and the visitor with a gun is located. Since the Great Smoky Mountains national park is located in Tennessee and North Carolina with the border marked clearly in only 1 place in all 800 square miles, I think the park has their work cut out for them.

Acting Director Dan Wenk made the following statement: "As Interior prepares to implement the new law, the Department will work to understand and interpret its implications for our national parks, with public safety and the safety of our employees as our foremost consideration."

Of course, one can only hope that that a law snuck underhandedly into a credit card reform bill will get struck down as the last one Bush passed did since none of the environmental issues, safety issues and the overwhelming majority of citizens who visit do not want guns to be legal in our national parks has not changed.

Just think, the Great Smoky Mountains national park did not even want bear spray to be legal in the park!

Related New Stories on Guns in National Parks:


Anonymous said...

The difference between the two states won't matter that much because TN and NC both have reciprocal agreements that recognize each others handgun carry permits. Enforcement shouldn't be confusing in this park between the two states.

Smokies Hiker said...

The issue is not NC and TN residents but visitors from other states which have varying reciprocal agreements with both NC and TN.