On Friday the Interior Department ruled that Americans will be able to carry concealed weapons in some federal parks and wildlife refuges. The announcement overturns a decades-old Reagan Administration regulation that required all guns brought into national parks and wildlife refuges be unloaded and kept in an out-of-the-way place such as the trunk of the car.
The new regulation does, however, comes with caveats.
The final rule, which updates existing regulations, would allow an individual to carry a concealed weapon in national parks and wildlife refuges if, and only if, the individual is authorized to carry a concealed weapon under state law in the state in which the national park or refuge is located.
According to Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Lyle Laverty, the regulation allows individuals to carry concealed firearms in federal parks and wildlife refuges to the same extent they can lawfully do so under state law.
“America was founded on the idea that the federal and state governments work together to serve the public and preserve our natural resources,” Laverty said. “The Department’s final regulation respects this tradition by allowing individuals to carry concealed firearms in federal park units and refuges to the extent that they could lawfully do so under state law. This is the same basic approach adopted by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the United States Forest Service (USFS), both of which allow visitors to carry weapons consistent with applicable federal and state laws.”
This week the rule will be published in the Federal Register. It will take effect 30 days later.
Here is the complete text of the announcement from the Office of the Secretary of the Interior Department.