May 20th, 2009
09:49 PM ET

Guns, parks and votes

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Joe Johns | BIO
CNN Correspondent

Today the Democrats, who used to be tattooed as the party of gun control, started making it look like they're not so willing to wear that tattoo anymore.

So when Senator Tom Coburn attached a provision to allow guns in national parks, a bunch of Democrats went along with it. Ok, some were holding their noses.

But the truth is some Democrats have finally decided that politically at least there is a real risk when you dismiss the concerns of guys in parts of the country like West Virginia and Oklahoma. In those states, people go to gun shows for recreation. It's part of the culture.

So ok, it might sound strange to people living in big cities worried about criminals with guns when they hear about this thing.

After all, national parks are places where you take your kids. But they are also places where you go camping and if a bear or wolf or coyote comes calling, you are gonna wish you had a gun around. That's part of the logic.

Plus there is the idea that depending on what state you are in it could be perfectly legal to carry a weapon. But when you go into the park and you still have your gun and you can be arrested.

Gun rights supporters have been trying to change this for years.

On the other hand, gun control folks - who are the Democrats' more traditional constituency - have been going bonkers over this provision.

So today's vote is quite a turnabout. Go figure.

The twist is that Democrats were pretty much forced into this because the gun provision was attached to the big credit card reform bill that the President wanted by Memorial Day. And - surprise! - the Democrats went along with it.

This is a very different Congress from the group that the last Democratic president, Bill Clinton, faced when he was elected.

Not saying that's good or bad. Just different.

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soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Bodine, KC,MO

    This what makes me mad. Obama, which I am glad he beat out grandpappy McCain, said he would veto bills that had pork and vrap in them that don't belong in the bill. What does CARRYING A CONCEALED WEAPON IN PARKS have to do with CC reform? Once again this is just another example of our government at it's best.

    I'm a hunter, fisherman and outdoorsman. But no one should be able to carry concealed weapons on the street except the police and of course federal agaents. That is one problem we have here. This has nothing to do with the right to bare arms, it has to do with ignorance on our governments part to allow this!!!!! And on another note there is no reason for the average american to have automatic fire weapons. These are the exact weapons that end up on the streets to gangs and thugs.

    May 22, 2009 at 9:28 am |
  2. Larry, Ohio

    It seems that getting shot by a drunken right wing camper is now more likely than being attacked by a terrorist. Isn't there somewhere in this country I can take my family where getting shot by a conservative NRA member isn't a part of the vacation itinerary?

    May 22, 2009 at 8:34 am |
  3. bob

    People who do not own a firearm and don't know anything about them only believe the slanted and bias ANTI- GUN view that they see on the TV news. I am almost willing to bet that the anti- gun people may have stood next to a person that has a concealed permit and is armed and didn't know it. Were they scared, most likely not, that's because the firearm carryer was an honest person. The same honest people in National Parks.

    May 21, 2009 at 10:35 pm |
  4. ronvan

    REALLY? How many of you know positively, that you could shoot/kill another human being? If you said yes, but haven't, I will tell you that you don't know. I have no problem with people carrying firearms to protect themselves & others, but do not mislead yourselves into thinking that just because you have one that you will use it. And then there is the problem as to what kind of firearm to carry. Most normal pistols & semi automatics are not heavy enough to put down some of the animals you are talking about. There are far to many idiots out there that think they have the right to carry large caliber guns, so where does it stop? A 38 or 357 is not compareable to a 44 magnum, just like a 44 doesn't compare to an AK 47.

    May 21, 2009 at 10:09 am |
  5. John L

    Not only is it a great idea but its about time people are permitted to carry guns in National Parks. I mean, you never know when you might have to defend yourself against a crazy bear and his little buddy trying to steal your pic-a-nic basket.

    May 20, 2009 at 10:21 pm |
  6. IamBillMurray

    While I do agree this gun legislation in the credit card reform bill was in the wrong place; I do NOt agree with the panic it has caused.The idea that good, law abiding citizens carrying guns will make our national parks less safe, is absurd. If a park or mall or whatever, is gonna get shot up, it'll be by a criminal that doesn't care about gun laws. Not good-natured people that want an extra sense of security.

    May 20, 2009 at 10:20 pm |
  7. Ed DeYoung

    The gun situation in this country is getting really crazy. Kids being killed in Chicago, murders gallore, but we need our guns – from handguns to assault weapons. The one place that USED to be gun free was a National Park. No longer. Just one more place for the crazies to pack heat. Is congress insane?

    May 20, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  8. C.R.

    The Second Amendment does not end at a park border–there is a lot of violent crime committed within park boundaries–including organized crime. American citizens have the God given right to defend themselves–everywhere!

    May 20, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
  9. john r smith

    Gun rights is a must to keep the peace. good job democrats

    May 20, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
  10. Taylor

    I Strongly support the rights of Law Abiding gun owners who are 21years of age to carry a concealed handgun in National Parks. A 120 pound woman who is jogging late at night can not protect herself from a 240 pound attacker. If one student at Virgina Tech had a gun on him there would not be 33 victims instead one dangerous person trying to kill people would be stopped.

    May 20, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
  11. John Paul

    It seems to me that allowing people to carry a concealed weapon in a national park (if already licensed to do so) is of little or no consequence.

    The people who cause problems with firearms are often the ones who aren't allowed to have them legally anyway. Take away nearly all rights to legally own/carry a weapon and the criminal will not change his/her behavior.

    May 20, 2009 at 10:17 pm |
  12. Mskbax

    Prez Obama is right not to veto the amendment regarding the guns in parks. Most gun owners are already worried that his administration is going to ban certain guns anyway, and is would be unconstitutional to do so.

    May 20, 2009 at 10:16 pm |
  13. Steve

    If I'm licensed to walk around downtown street carrying a concealed weapon, why shouldn't I be able to carry it out in the wilderness. There's dangerous creatures in the woods as well as in the city.

    May 20, 2009 at 10:16 pm |
  14. Doug Richey

    I am not a gun person, but with the bears and mountain lions, coyotes and wild pigs in the parks, I would like to be able to defend myself. Doug

    May 20, 2009 at 10:16 pm |
  15. Tyler

    I don't think it is a problem for people to carry guns in a national park, they clearly are not using the guns for hunting

    May 20, 2009 at 10:13 pm |