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Firearms Now Legal in Many National Parks

Originally Published in Trailer Life Magazine

It used to be that firearms were prohibited in national parks – except in some Alaska parks
and those parks that allow hunting. But a change in federal law now allows firearms in many
national parks. People who can legally possess firearms under federal and state law can now
possess those firearms in the national parks in that state. The new law (Sec. 512 of P.L.
111-24) was passed by Congress and signed last May by President Obama, though it only
recently took effect on February 22. Federal law continues to prohibit the possession of
firearms in designated “federal facilities” in national parks, for example, visitor
centers, offices or maintenance buildings. These places are posted with “firearms
prohibited” signs at public entrances. The new law also does not change prohibitions on the
use of firearms in national parks and does not change hunting regulations. State and local
firearms laws vary. Visitors who would like to bring a firearm with them to a national park
need to understand and comply with the applicable laws. More than 30 national parks are
located in more than one state, so visitors need to know where they are in those parks and
which state’s law applies. “For nearly 100 years, the mission of the National Park Service
has been to protect and preserve the parks and to help all visitors enjoy them,” National
Park Service Director Jon Jarvis said. “We will administer this law as we do all others –
fairly and consistently.” Park websites have been updated to include links to state
firearms laws to help visitors understand the law and plan accordingly. For more
information, visit the National Park

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