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Reply #70: Unrec for citing Sugarmann without comment [View All]

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Euromutt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-12-10 06:15 PM
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70. Unrec for citing Sugarmann without comment
The entire piece is bullshit, which is par for the course with Sugarmann. If you put his alarmist rhetoric in context, what it comes down is that the possibility of encountering an openly armed citizen is now the same in any given National Park as it is in the state in which the National Park is located.

Quick fisking of a few points:
Anyone hiking in the backcountry can openly carry guns, increasing the risk to other hikers and park wildlife.

The increase in risk is about on a par with the extent that smoking contributes to global warming. This is known as the "genuine but insignificant cause" fallacy.

<...> while standing on Mather Point, enjoying the breathtaking view of the canyon, you could see another visitor with an assault rifle slung on his shoulder.

The likelihood of any licensed owner of an automatic weapon (unlike so-called "assault weapons," assault rifles are by definition capable of automatic fire) carrying it around in public are exceedingly slim.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park (TN and NC): This park is an example of one of the problems visitors will face with the new law. In North Carolina, there are few gun restrictions and visitors could be seen openly carrying guns. However, if you happen to be a gun-carrying visitor, you will need a "carry permit" when you cross into the part of the park located in Tennessee.

Whereas previously, it was possible for a CCW permit holder to be legally carrying in his home state, and then break the law merely by driving along a stretch of road over which the NPS has (or claims) jurisdiction, such as the George Washington Memorial Parkway in Virginia, or the stretch of US 101 that runs through Olympic National Park in Washington state.

Mount Rainier National Park (WA): While hiking the famous "Wonderland Trail" you could encounter other hikers openly carrying handguns, rifles or shotguns.

While the legality of openly carrying handguns in Washington state is well established, the status of openly carrying a long gun is not so unequivocal; see State v. Spencer (1995) http://www.impsec.org/~jhardin/gunstuff/legal/State_v_S...
Sugarmann didn't do his research; surprising for someone who is supposedly an expert on this topic.

Also note the generous use of the term "prominently displayed." Most open carriers do not carry their handguns in a particularly prominent fashion; most casual observers don't even notice the holstered handgun. The insinuation is, of course, that anyone open carrying seeks to intimidate those around him; actively and deliberately doing so, however, is typically illegal. And the fact is that those who intend to use firearms for unlawful purposes typically carry their weapons concealed, which is why most gun crimes are committed with handguns, and why rifles and shotguns with an overall length of 26" are tightly regulated under the National Firearms Act of 1934.

And ultimately, the gun control organizations have nobody to blame for the present situation but themselves. Originally, the alteration to the federal rules would only have permitted licensed concealed carry; no open carry, and certainly no long guns. But gun control groups field suit to prevent the rule change, and the Dept. of the Interior opted not to appeal. The Coburn Amendment wouldn't even have been introduced were it not for the gun control groups' lawsuit. That came round to bite them in the ass.
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