National Park Service Gun Ban Expanding
600-mile Trail to be added to NPS
GOA Alert– July 23, 2008
On July 10, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to designate the Washington-Rochambeau Trail, which stretches 600 miles from Rhode Island to Yorktown, Virginia, as a National Historic Trail. Such a designation would place the trail under the jurisdiction of the Department of Interior and the National Park Service, thus subjecting the Washington-Rochambeau to the current NPS gun ban.
Carrying firearms on land controlled by the NPS is prohibited, even if the state in which the land is located allows firearms. The only way you can legally have a firearm anywhere on National Park land currently is by having it unloaded and inaccessible, such as locked up in your trunk.
While the Interior Department recently (after seven years of foot-dragging) proposed new rules to partially reverse the gun ban, they have not yet taken effect. If and when they do go into effect, most gun owners would still not be allowed to possess firearms on these lands because, among other problems with the rule, open carry would remain prohibited. Congress still needs to take action to make the gun ban repeal complete and permanent.
Before the bill passed the House, Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) filed an amendment with the Rules Committee to protect the Second Amendment on the trail. His amendment would have required that state and local laws govern firearms possession and carrying on the trail. The Rules Committee changed that language and made it apply only to hunting.
Rep. Bishop denounced the Committee during debate on the measure, pointing out that the committee “did not defend all of the Second Amendment, only the so-called hunting rights, which is not, not the purpose of the Second Amendment.”
Rep. Bishop made a motion to send the bill back to committee with instructions to restore the pro-gun language. His motion narrowly failed, 211-202.
The bill (H.R. 1286) now heads to the Senate where the situation is much more complex. Dr. Tom Coburn (R-OK) has been a leader on repealing the NPS gun ban. Sen. Coburn previously introduced a bill (S. 2619) to rescind the ban, but it remains bottled up by senate leadership. Earlier this year, Sen. Coburn entered into a so-called unanimous consent agreement with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to get a vote on his repeal language, but Sen. Reid reneged on his promise and blocked the vote.
Sen. Coburn remains committed to forcing a vote on killing the NPS gun ban, and Sen. Reid seems equally committed to blocking that vote. Reid’s most recent maneuver to silence Coburn is to introduce (as one measure) a package of bills that Coburn has held up on constitutional grounds. Rolling many bills into one, loaded with pork and pet projects to dole out to a variety of senators, is a transparent attempt to erode the widespread support Sen. Coburn has among his colleagues.
If Reid is successful in passing so many bills at one time without debate, the ability of individual senators to force deliberate consideration and roll call votes on important legislation will be threatened.
The reason each state has two senators is stop large population centers (such as an unholy alliance of NYC, Chicago and Los Angeles) from dictating their will upon the rest of the country. Historically, the rules of the Senate have always allowed any individual senator to keep the full body from acting in an unconstitutional manner.
If other senators allow Reid to act as the dictator of the senate, Coburn’s ability to stop the expansion of the NPS gun ban will be severely threatened.
Unless Sen. Coburn’s effort is successful in repealing the gun ban, the 600 mile Washington-Rochambeau — which encompasses parts of major thoroughfares such as I-95 — will become yet another Second Amendment infringement zone affecting hundreds of thousands of gun owners up and down the East Coast.
CONTACT INFORMATION: You can use the Gun Owners Legislative Action Center to send your Senators the pre-written e-mail message below. And, you can call your Senators at 202-224-3121 or toll-free at 1-877-762-8762.
—– Pre-written letter —–
Senator Tom Coburn is leading the fight against the National Park Service gun ban.
While the Interior Department recently (after seven years of foot-dragging) proposed new rules to partially reverse the gun ban, they have not yet taken effect. If and when they do go into effect, most gun owners would still not be allowed to possess firearms on these lands because, among other problems with the rule, open carry would remain prohibited.
Senator Coburn is the sponsor of a bill, S. 2619, to make the gun ban repeal complete and permanent. I urge you to become a cosponsor of this legislation.
In addition, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has used unprecedented procedural maneuvers to silence Dr. Coburn and to keep this bill or a similar amendment from coming to the floor of the Senate. Please stand with Sen. Coburn against the strong-arm tactics of Sen. Reid and support the repeal of the NPS gun ban.
Olofson Relief Fund
David Olofson has been subjected to a gross miscarriage of justice. What happened to Olofson could happen to any American who owns a semi-automatic firearm.
He was convicted of knowingly transferring an unregistered machine gun — a standard semi-auto rifle which fired two three-round bursts and then jammed. Gun owners call that a malfunction. The federal government calls it an easy way to get a felony conviction. Olofson was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison.
David Olofson is an information technology professional with a wife, three children and a mortgage. Until his conviction, he was also in the National Guard.
The Olofson Relief Fund has been set up to allow concerned Americans to help the Olfoson’s make their mortgage and (their one) car payments while Dave is unable to work.
If you decide to contribute to the Olofson Relief Fund, your credit card will be charged monthly for the amount you have indicated. This will continue until Olofson is out of prison — or you notify us to discontinue the charges.
Gun Owners of America is acting as the agent for the fund. All moneys collected will be transferred regularly to the mortgage and car loan holders.
To make a monthly contribution, click:
Olofson Relief Fund
To read about this case in greater detail, see: