Brady is off-target

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence is out to block the right of individuals to carry concealed weapons on national park property.

That’s hardly surprising, given the Brady group’s historic fight against handguns. What is unexpected is the organization’s claim about why the ruling by the Bush administration that allows people with concealed-carry permits to bring their guns into national parks and monuments was wrong: It allegedly violates federal environmental regulations.

Oh, come on. Do Brady officials think there will be so much lead flying once guns are allowed in parks and monuments that rivers and streams will be polluted? Do they really believe, as their lawsuit suggests, that concealed weapons pose a serious hazard to endangered species?

We understand Brady arguing against guns in parks as a public-safety issue, but even that argument is difficult to sustain. As one of Brady’s own studies says, it’s tough to determine how many crimes have been committed by people holding legal concealed-carry permits. However, statistics from Florida, where a concealed-carry has been in place since 1987, show only a tiny percentage of permits were revoked because of a gun-related crime.

Also, people with permits are legally able to carry their guns on Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management property, and there hasn’t been a significant increase in crime on those lands. That’s why 50 U.S. senators, including soon-to-be Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar, urged that guns be allowed in parks.

Holders of concealed-carry permits aren’t going to litter park landscapes with shell casings or randomly blast endangered species. This isn’t an environmental issue, despite what the Brady Campaign claims.


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