Monday may bring a change in how you feel when you enter a national park or wildlife refuge. That’s the day a new law goes into effect that will allow people to carry firearms into national parks and refuges in states where right-to-carry laws exist. Oklahoma is one of those states.
(Read about it here: http://www.newsok.com/new-law-on-firearms-to-take-effect-in-oklahoma-parks/article/3441105?custom_click=pod_headline_politics)
I think there’s going to be two camps on this.
First, you’ll have people who will feel safer knowing they can be armed in these places, just in case they run into troublesome people or dangerous wildlife.
The second group will feel more unsafe. You’ll never know who is armed, and anytime there is a confrontation, firearms bring a whole new sense of alarm into the equation. Once you pull that trigger, there’s no taking it back.
There are stories of crime in National Park System, though they are pretty rare. Rarer still are animal encounters where predators or other large animals attack people. Neither has been a problem for me.
I’ve also hiked with people who brought a sidearm and didn’t feel uncomfortable with them, though in a backpacking scenario it just seemed like needless added weight.
But I know others will feel differently.
I’ve written about this topic before, and I’ve received a good number of responses from folks. Here in Oklahoma most people I’ve talked to think the right to carry a firearm is guaranteed by the law and is simply a precaution for those rare instances where deadly force might be needed for self-defense. A few others disagreed.
So how do you feel? Will you feel safer? Or do you think the law will make national parks less safe? Comment here or send me an e-mail. I’d like to know.