Give gun owners uniformity Mon Mar 3, 12:20 AM ET
By Wayne LaPierre
Why does USA TODAY object to uniform laws?
The rules of safe driving don't change when you travel from a state highway onto a federal one. Why should rules for gun owners change when they travel from a state park to a federal park or wildlife refuge?
As it is, gun owners who enjoy going afield in our parks face a confusing nationwide patchwork of rules and regulations, governed by different agencies and bureaucracies. It's inconsistent, burdensome and unnecessary. More than half the Senate agrees.
So the administration's new proposal would simply provide uniformity. Federal parks and wildlife refuges would mirror state firearm laws for state parks. Besides, there's plenty of wild in the wilderness both animal and human that can endanger law-abiding hikers, anglers, campers and birdwatchers.
The National Park Service has no legal obligation to protect you. Why should it have legal authority to prevent you from protecting yourself?
Federal park firearm regulations are outdated. They don't reflect changes in state laws over the past 25 years with respect to carrying firearms.
Today, 48 states have systems to issue permits to law-abiding citizens to carry firearms for protection. Most states allow citizens to carry firearms in state parks. Federal parks should follow suit.
Why should you forfeit your rights when you step from a state park into a national park? You shouldn't. That's why this simple modernization is so urgently needed.
Under this proposal, if a state allowed visitors to carry firearms at its state parks, visitors to federal parks within that state would enjoy the same freedom. If a state didn't allow visitors to carry firearms at state parks, the same would apply on federal parks within that state.
It's far past time to overhaul the jumble of firearm regulations on federal lands, and to restore the rights of law-abiding gun owners who wish to carry firearms for lawful purposes. Better yet, this proposal follows the lead of state law, proving its goal is to reflect the will of the people not editorial boards.
Wayne LaPierre is executive vice president of the National Rifle Association.