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No Appeal of Concealed Carry in Parks Decision:

The Obama Administration has decided not to appeal a federal court decision striking down an Interior Department rule allowing concealed carry in National Parks. A federal district court had voided the rule due to the government's failure to conduct an environmental impact statement, or even an environmental assessment, before adopting the rule. According to the NYT, the Administration is "not completely discarding the Bush rule and that officials intended to complete an environmental impact statement on the possible effects of the rule, as well as a range of alternatives."

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. No Appeal of Concealed Carry in Parks Decision:
  2. Does Concealed Carry Significantly Affect the Environment?
cboldt (mail):
No surprise in this decision. I'll wait and see how vigorously the Obama administration pushes back on the (awful) ruling. It's good to know that the Obama administration respects tenuous and illogical forms of argument.
4.19.2009 9:20am
Order of the Coif:
What did you expect. They can be "anti-gun" and blame it on the Bush Administration. The White House must be delighted.
4.19.2009 9:45am
therut (mail):
Just shows his ignorance.
4.19.2009 10:00am
glangston (mail):
Nice try Bush but people need to experience being somewhere other than the top of the food chain, Taking a slower older person hiking was the original solution to the wild animal dilemma.
4.19.2009 10:16am
ruuffles (mail) (www):

Just shows his ignorance.

Oh you mean Reagan?

1) why did Reagan institute the rule to begin with?
2) why didn't Bush I revoke it?
3) why didn't GOP pass legislation during Clinton when they had the house and the senate?
4) why didn't Bush II do this at the beginning of his presidency, along with stem cells and mexico city?
4.19.2009 10:43am
SirBillsalot (mail):

This is annoying. One of the main arteries where I live is a federal parkway. I was hoping that federal law would come into line with my state's law.

Hopefully though, the sheer idiocy of the argument that won in a friendly courtroom will help spur a legislative solution. Assuming of course that Obama signs Sen. Baucus et al's bill.
4.19.2009 10:53am
Oren:
Perhaps Federal Courts should be able to remand to the executive for further proceedings. The judge could just order an EIS, have it come back clean and be done with it.
4.19.2009 10:59am
a knight (mail) (www):
I guess I'm just too much of an old cowboy. I cannot conceive of the public good done in allowing persons to carry firearms concealed on public parklands.

I've spent extensive time in my life in Western Federal Parks, as well as BLM managed wilderness areas, in high country and on desert floors. Often I've encountered strangers who carried sidearms openly in these places. This has not caused me undue concern, and generally, I consider it to be a sign that these strangers are not a personal threat. If I encountered a stranger in these places, who subsequently offered a glimpse of a concealed holstered weapon, I would immediately feel threatened by this individual, and wonder what caused the person to believe they needed to obfuscate the fact they were armed with a deadly weapon. This does serve to secure the peace, nor is it a deterrent against assault. It is instead the act of a coward.
4.19.2009 11:26am
Tom Tildrum:
An environmental impact statement on concealed carry? I think the health effects of ingesting flying lead are already well known.
4.19.2009 11:26am
George Lyon (mail):
"I guess I'm just too much of an old cowboy. I cannot conceive of the public good done in allowing persons to carry firearms concealed on public parklands."

The problem is that the current rule prohibits ANY carrying of a loaded firearm. Many of those of us who are now defending the adopted rule actually wanted the rule to allow open carry as well as concealed carry to the extent allowed by state law. Not allowing open carry in parks is unrealistic during hot summer days.
4.19.2009 11:33am
a knight (mail) (www):
Tom Tildrum - cute, but I'd guess you've never expended great energy to get away from urbanization, and out into a wilderness area, only to discover some damn fools had decided to use their empty beer cans as targets on a makeshift shooting range, or had attempted to cut down a several hundred year old Pinion Pine tree, using ordnance fired from weapons they hide in their pants, as a codpiece.
4.19.2009 11:36am
a knight (mail) (www):
George Lyon, I grew up in Nevada, and live there presently. In this state it is legal to carry openly, and many old timers regard easily acquired concealed weapons permits dubiously. I am aware that Federal Parks do not allow carry weapons. This has at times caused friends and myself to go to extensive means to avoid breaking the law, because the only reasonable route to a very nice shooting range is through a public park. We break down our rifles, and secure the firing mechanisms and ordnance is separate locked containers in the trunk area, leaving the rest of the rifles in the passenger areas. Once I was pulled over in the Federal Park, and after showing the Park Rangers what I'd done, they had no problem at all with my rifle, and got a good laugh after learning that the black eye of my passenger's had been cause by the rifle scope on recoil.

I do not believe the weapons ban in Federal Parks is proper, but this still is a far thing from concealed carry, which I personally believe is a theft of my personal liberty, in that individuals are allowed to hide the fact that they are armed with a deadly weapon. This is the behaviour of card cheats, outlaws, and other lowlifes. Quit trying to make a 2nd Amendment issue out of concealed carry.
4.19.2009 11:50am
rosetta's stones:
...better batten down the hatches, knight... the tsunami's coming!
4.19.2009 11:54am
Brett Bellmore:

concealed carry, which I personally believe is a theft of my personal liberty


Nope. You've got the right that people not assault you. You never had any right that they not be able to assault you, or share with you how effective they'd be at doing it.

What's next, you're going to demand that martial artists have "MA" tattooed on their foreheads, so that you know that guy walking by you could take you out with one punch?

Your personal liberty doesn't extend as far in mandating what other people do as you'd apparently like.
4.19.2009 12:03pm
Dave hardy (mail) (www):
I think the original rule's NEPA compliance was very shakey, just begging for a legal challenge. My guess is that nobody acted on this until the last months or weeks of the administration, and then they rushed it thru.

I do wonder at jumping to do an EIS. Normally you do an enviro assessment, or EA, to see if that is necessary or not. A small team should be able to put together an EA on a rule like this in, oh, 1-3 months. An EIS is a massive project. Even if they started on it tomorrow, it'd take a year or more, cost a load of money and eat up lots of agency time. (Of course that may be part of the objective). And it'd be rare that they could start tomorrow. Agencies have rules in the pipeline, and the folks you need for this EIS may have 3-4-5 or more other EISs already in process, so they may not be able to start for six months or a year.
4.19.2009 12:06pm
Vermont Guy (mail):
Knight, you are completely out of touch. You may consider that a benefit of living in Nevada.

The fact is that most of the places in this country are infested with people who are scared to death of firearms. If all you knew about guns was what you saw on television you would be too. Their parents never owned guns. They have never handled a gun. They have no interest in learning and may even fear that learning about guns would somehow be damaging to their very souls. They fear such knowledge would make them evil.

I carry concealed to avoid daily hysterical reactions from the people around me. It is a small price to pay to get along in urban society.
4.19.2009 12:12pm
Vermont Guy (mail):
Does no one else have standing to appeal this ruling?
4.19.2009 12:15pm
Bruce Hayden (mail):
An environmental impact statement on concealed carry? I think the health effects of ingesting flying lead are already well known.
and
Tom Tildrum - cute, but I'd guess you've never expended great energy to get away from urbanization, and out into a wilderness area, only to discover some damn fools had decided to use their empty beer cans as targets on a makeshift shooting range, or had attempted to cut down a several hundred year old Pinion Pine tree, using ordnance fired from weapons they hide in their pants, as a codpiece.
I am with Tildrum here. The EIS was used as a way to defeat the rule on a technicality, presumably by parties who oppose the rule on its merits and guns in general. Such a requirement is ridiculous on its face. Even in Knight's scenario, the amount of lead added to the environment is less than de minimis. Its not like Bambi is going to eat the expended rounds when hungry.

Knight - are you still in NV? And if so where?
4.19.2009 1:16pm
Skyler (mail) (www):
Bruce, they've banned lead in shotgun pellets in many jurisdictions precisely on the theory that birds and other critters will eat the lead pellets.

Seems to me that this only makes them easier to shoot the next time, but what do I know? :)
4.19.2009 1:25pm
Soronel Haetir (mail):
Vermont Guy,

I would guess that only the US government has standing to back regulation. And as much as I would like to see this particular change allowing any party to defend any regulation seems like a terrible road to travel.
4.19.2009 1:37pm
cboldt (mail):
-- And as much as I would like to see this particular change allowing any party to defend any regulation seems like a terrible road to travel. --
.
In this case, the private group "Brady Against Violence" was granted standing on the basis that the psychological impact on its members represents a threat flowing from harm to the environment.
.
The NRA has exactly the same basis for standing, on that logic. Which proves thatteh logic is developed on a situational basis, not on an intellectually honest basis.
4.19.2009 2:02pm
glangston (mail):
Anyone that legally carries concealed and "offers you a glimpse" is violating the terms of their license. Then again, maybe your assumption was wrong and they don't have that license.
4.19.2009 2:05pm
ruuffles (mail) (www):

The NRA has exactly the same basis for standing, on that logic.

A previous article did say the NRA was considering an appeal but did not give further details.
4.19.2009 2:05pm
ruuffles (mail) (www):
Here

Even without an appeal by the Obama administration, the court case is likely to continue. The National Rifle Association has filed a separate appeal of the ruling. A spokesman has said the group will pursue all legal and legislative avenues "to defend the American people's right to self-defense."

ap
4.19.2009 2:06pm
Brett Bellmore:
I think it's pretty clear that the Bush administration never meant for this rule change to stand, it was just a last minute throwaway for political effect. An attempt to cement gun owners to the GOP by demonstrating that a Democratic President would undo it... And hoping we wouldn't notice that they'd deliberately waited until the last minute, and not done the spade work to give it a chance to stand.

I noticed, but I never thought the Bush administration was particularly pro-gun to begin with, or doubted that Obama was worse.
4.19.2009 2:07pm
GainesvilleGuest (mail):
Does this preclude 3rd parties, such as the NRA, from appealing?
4.19.2009 2:13pm
donaldk2 (mail):
I wish the udge had found a better justification. Environmental impact is such an obvious ploy. Tends to bring the judicial into contempt.
4.19.2009 2:22pm
SirBillsalot (mail):
glangston:

"Anyone that legally carries concealed and "offers you a glimpse" is violating the terms of their license. "

That depends on whether the state is an open carry state or not. In a lot of states you don't need a license to carry openly, but you do need one to carry concealed. If a concealed weapon becomes accidentally or deliberately unconcealed, then the license isn't violated, it's just moot.
4.19.2009 2:27pm
Troll (mail):
The whole notion that they should have to do an EIS under NEPA is sham - nobody seriously believes that concealed *handguns* pose anything but a de minimis risk to wildlife.

As to the danger to humans argument, that is facially absurd since concealed weapons license hodlers are an incredibly law-abiding bunch, and orders of magnitude less likely to commit a violent crime than an ordinary citizen.
4.19.2009 2:35pm
Melancton Smith:
Brett Bellmore wrote:

I noticed, but I never thought the Bush administration was particularly pro-gun to begin with, or doubted that Obama was worse.


Agreed!
4.19.2009 2:51pm
Anononymous314:
Seems to me environmental impact is the new Commerce Clause.
4.19.2009 3:04pm
therut (mail):
Yep Reagan and the rest of the bunch were ignorant on this issue(notice you left out Clinton for some reason??). I am not sp partisian that can not see ignorance like this. There is NO environmental or other reason to deny the carrying of concealed firearms in these .gov places. The fact that money has to be wasted on an enviromental impact study for this is an obvious abuse of environmental policy for a political ideological agenda. Wonder which has more environmental impact exhaling CO2 or driving automobiles in National parks. A person carrying a firearm has NONE.
4.19.2009 3:45pm
John Moore (www):

I do wonder at jumping to do an EIS. Normally you do an enviro assessment, or EA, to see if that is necessary or not. A small team should be able to put together an EA on a rule like this in, oh, 1-3 months. An EIS is a massive project. Even if they started on it tomorrow, it'd take a year or more, cost a load of money and eat up lots of agency time. (Of course that may be part of the objective). And it'd be rare that they could start tomorrow. Agencies have rules in the pipeline, and the folks you need for this EIS may have 3-4-5 or more other EISs already in process, so they may not be able to start for six months or a year.


Is it any wonder that people are holding tea party rallies? This is the smothering bureaucratic state write large.
4.19.2009 3:49pm
Ben P:

Is it any wonder that people are holding tea party rallies? This is the smothering bureaucratic state write large.



A piece of legislation passed under Nixon that requires the government to evaluate the environmental impact of actions it takes is "smothering bureaucratic state?"
4.19.2009 4:22pm
Kevin P. (mail):
<blockquote>
glangston:
Anyone that legally carries concealed and "offers you a glimpse" is violating the terms of their license. Then again, maybe your assumption was wrong and they don't have that license.
</blockquote>
This is true in Texas which requires that handguns must be carried concealed. Only a few states have a similar duty. In many states in the West, handguns may be carried openly with or without a license.
4.19.2009 4:41pm
http://volokh.com/?exclude=davidb :

If I encountered a stranger in these places, who subsequently offered a glimpse of a concealed holstered weapon, I would immediately feel threatened by this individual, and wonder what caused the person to believe they needed to obfuscate the fact they were armed with a deadly weapon.

I feel threatened by your obvious failure to understand self defense. Do my feelings count as much as yours here?
4.19.2009 4:49pm
Gaius Obvious:
Was an EIS filed when the ban was first instituted? If not, then shouldn't the judge vacate the original ban?
4.19.2009 5:50pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
A piece of legislation passed under Nixon that requires the government to evaluate the environmental impact of actions it takes is "smothering bureaucratic state?"
Actions it takes? How is me carrying a gun into a federal park an action taken by the federal government?
4.19.2009 5:55pm
Kirk:
I'm with Brett and Melancton. And it's not just this particular issue--didn't Bush say he'd sign a AWB renewal if Congress would pass it?

Ben P.,

Um, yeah! You maybe have Richard "Wage and Price Controls" Nixon confused with an actual conservative.
4.19.2009 6:13pm
John Moore (www):

A piece of legislation passed under Nixon that requires the government to evaluate the environmental impact of actions it takes is "smothering bureaucratic state?"

Yes, in this case it is. Nixon was one of the most significant statists since Roosevelt, increasing federal government power in areas like this more than Johnson.

When all of the bureaucratic actions described above are required to evaluate something that is completely and utterly obvious, it is smothering bureaucracy (which is a bit redundant).
4.19.2009 7:10pm
zippypinhead:
Dave Hardy correctly observed:
I do wonder at jumping to do an EIS... An EIS is a massive project. Even if they started on it tomorrow, it'd take a year or more, cost a load of money and eat up lots of agency time. (Of course that may be part of the objective)... they may not be able to start for six months or a year.
Exactly! Submerge the whole thing for as long as possible before having to actually take any overt acts to kill it. Standard political Washington tactic, used in all sorts of situations. The hope is that the political environment will have changed in a year or three, making it easier to simply announce that the rulemaking is being terminated.
4.19.2009 7:16pm
Matthew Carberry (mail):
The decision to bring the policy for concealed carry in National Parks into line with the existing policies for National Forests and BLM lands was NOT a "last-minute" change. It followed to the letter (except apparently for doing a nonsensical EA) the correct procedure and timing for such changes.

Calling it a "last-minute" change, in reference to when it took effect as opposed to when the process began, is yet another deliberate semantic choice by the anti-gunners to demonize pro-gun acions. In this case by making it appear to the uninformed that the change was "snuck in" without proper review.

If they'd show a bit more intellectual honesty in their arguments, it might be easier to give their positions more credence.

As it stands those positions are consistently both duplicitous AND asinine.
4.19.2009 8:18pm
pintler:

I cannot conceive of the public good done in allowing persons to carry firearms concealed on public parklands.


As far as concealed/not concealed, I don't particularly care, although it is nice to let your rain parka keep some of the rain off your gun when you're on a two week hike in what turns out to be a monsoon, without breaking the law.

As far a not needing to be armed, look at the safety tips page at appalaciantrail.org. I count 16 tips. Four are crime neutral (carry a current map, let someone know your plans, etc). Nine are crime related (Don't camp or linger near trailheads, don't sign registers with gender specific names, say 'we' instead of 'I', etc).

A couple could be classified either way. One refers to legal safety: don't carry firearms (good legal advice, there is no legal way for a thru hiker who is not an LEO to legally carry the length of the trail). Their advice - use a whistle instead.

For years, a local Nat'l Park had police composite sketches of a gent who was attacking solo female hikers. Ironically, the warning poster was stapled to the trailhead 'Firearms Prohibited' sign.

'Call 911 and let the police handle it' has some real problems for the solo female hiker a few miles down the trail.
4.19.2009 8:35pm
John Moore (www):

I cannot conceive of the public good done in allowing persons to carry firearms concealed on public parklands.


When I used to take my daughter stream fishing in the Arizona mountains, I carried a concealed weapon. The reason for carry was protection against two-legged predators. The reason for concealment was courtesy.

When the law was interpreted such that "fanny pack holsters" were no longer legal, I had no choice but to carry openly, which unnecessarily disturbs others trying to enjoy the wilderness.
4.19.2009 8:47pm
Icarus:
I fail to see the logic of an requiring an environmental statement prior to allowing for open or concealed in a National Park. The law was not about performing target practice or hunting. It allowed a person to defend themselves from both two and four legged predators. To my non-lawyered mind this is common sense, but then again, I find myself unable to conceive a different viewpoint.

Is this just the ramblings of an incompetent judge who has never read the constitution or handled a gun, or is this the precursor to other restrictive gun rules by judicial fiat from the anti-gun left?
4.20.2009 12:50am
John Moore (www):

I fail to see the logic of an requiring an environmental statement prior to allowing for open or concealed in a National Park.

That's because there is none. It is merely the thrashings of the bureaucratic state.
4.20.2009 1:26am
Larrya (mail) (www):
1) why did Reagan institute the rule to begin with?
You might want to consider that when the rule was written, under Reagan, there were only a handful of right-to-carry states. The tide didn't begin to turn until Florida in 1987.

Now there are forty.
4.20.2009 5:00am
Joel Rosenberg (mail) (www):
Anyone that legally carries concealed and "offers you a glimpse" is violating the terms of their license.
Err...no; depends entirely on state law. In my state, for example, both open and discreet carry are entirely lawful if one has a carry permit.
4.20.2009 7:51am
road2serfdom:
Was an enviormental impact analysis completed when Reagan changed the rule to forbid carry? If not, that original regulation should be reversed and that would bring us back to no prohibition.
4.20.2009 10:57am
Sk (mail):
"Was an enviormental impact analysis completed when Reagan changed the rule to forbid carry? If not, that original regulation should be reversed and that would bring us back to no prohibition."

Jonathan-
This aspect has been mentioned twice now. I know from your previous post that you believe that NEPA is a reasonable requirement for this change in policy (to re-allow guns on private land). This mentioned question-whether NEPA was performed when the ban was originally instituted-seems logically reasonable. What is your response?

Sk
4.20.2009 11:23am
Halto (mail):
"Often I've encountered strangers who carried sidearms openly in these places. This has not caused me undue concern, and generally, I consider it to be a sign that these strangers are not a personal threat. If I encountered a stranger in these places, who subsequently offered a glimpse of a concealed holstered weapon, I would immediately feel threatened by this individual, and wonder what caused the person to believe they needed to obfuscate the fact they were armed with a deadly weapon."

That's super for you, unfortunately 90% of folks not as woodsy as you feel threatened by holstered firearms, and concealed they don't see, so no need to feel threatened. To a large segment of the population, guns are icky. Maybe those that obfuscate the fact they were armed with a deadly weapon realize this.
4.20.2009 12:03pm
John Moore (www):

Anyone that legally carries concealed and "offers you a glimpse" is violating the terms of their license.
Err...no; depends entirely on state law. In my state, for example, both open and discreet carry are entirely lawful if one has a carry permit.


In Arizona, if you are lawfully carrying concealed, and you reveal the weapon on purpose, you can be prosecuted for brandishing.

In Texas, it is legal to carry concealed with a permit, but AFAIK it is never legal to carry openly.
4.20.2009 1:04pm
LarryA (mail) (www):
In Texas, it is legal to carry concealed with a permit, but AFAIK it is never legal to carry openly.
Correct, when carrying in a public place. Open carry is legal on your own property or property you control, as in your residence or place of business. (But not your automobile. Handguns carried in your car cannot be in plain view.)

In public it's illegal to carry a handgun, with a couple of exceptions. The major one is carry with a license.

With a CHL you must carry in a manner that the average person won't know you're armed, but a violation is defined as "intentional failure to conceal." Thus if your coat accidently blows open or your shirt rides up it's a problem, not an offense.

Note that telling a person whether you are carrying is a failure to conceal.

Of course there's an exception if you displayed your firearm in a situation where use of force is justified.
4.20.2009 3:20pm

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