No Guns On Sacred Pipestone National Monument Grounds

Other Issues

"Once again, political leaders in the Bush administration have ignored the preferences of the American public by succumbing to political pressure, in this case generated by the National Rifle Association," said Bill Wade, president of the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees.

"This regulation will put visitors, employees and precious resources of the National Park System at risk. We will do everything possible to overturn it and return to a commonsense approach to guns in national parks that has been working for decades," Wade said.

As well as the traditional and spiritual issues at the Pipestone National Monument, there are other issues pertaining to National parks as a whole. When my kids were young we always went camping for our vacations, we travelled around America staying in National park campgrounds. I felt they were the safest places to be, coming from England I had heard all about the violence in America when it came to guns and I knew that they were not allowed in the parks, so I didn't have to worry about some crazy shooting us because we spoke with a different accent or something equally stupid.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said the new rule was a mistake.

"The Reagan-era rules have stood the test of time and make our national parks safe for all who visit them," Feinstein said. "The Bush administration changes will make our national parks more dangerous and will upset the delicate balance that exists between park visitors and wildlife."

Interior Department spokesman Chris Paolino said the rule would not affect a ban on guns in federal buildings. Guns will still be prohibited in national icons such as Independence Hall and the Statue of Liberty, he said. Guns also will be banned in visitor centers and other buildings at national parks.

Pipestone National Monuments Visitor center is located slap bang in the middle of the Park, next to the Parking lot and the Circle trail, people go into there before walking the trail. I want to know how they are going to monitor who is carrying a gun and who isn't when they come into the building. Will they not erect a monitoring device like in airports where someone has to be standing there all the time? It seems the only way. However there are 3 public entrances into the building, so I guess all of them have to have one of these devices. There are no 'In' and 'Out' doors, people use the same doors for both functions, which means that the ones going out would have to use the same machine as those coming in. then again the staff entrance is another way people could get in if they are lost, surely that would need one as well! A logistic nightmare for such a small park, and costly as well I can imagine. Or am I being overly security minded and the whole thing would be done on trust? How would the Homeland security feel about that I wonder?

To my mind in today's world this is a backwards step, clinging to the gun mentality. When terrorists find out about this new ruling what is to stop them coming into a large Park and causing havoc because they know people there will be carrying weapons. Instead of encouraging people to carry weapons we should be teaching survival without them, how to read body language, be street wise and trust in our own instincts.

The largest national park seems to be in Alaska (Wrangell - St Elias) it has over 20,000 acres. Pipestone has just 283 acres. I can understand the security nightmare for such a large park but for Pipestone? There is no need.


Law Abiding Citizens

Fifty one (51) United States Senators* wrote to the Secretary of the Interior asking the National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to "remove their prohibitions on law-abiding citizens from transporting and carrying firearms on lands managed by these agencies"

The words 'law-abiding citizens' confuses me. I want to know how Parks are going to know if these people carrying the guns are 'law-abiding' or even 'citizens'. Are they going to ask to see their passports, or any record they may have? the whole thing seems ludicrious to me.

The letter from Senators


Criminal Acts

One of the reasons for this ruling to be made is that criminal activity shows an 'alarming increase'.
For 2007 the figures show the following:

8 murders, 43 forcible rapes, 57 robberies and 274 instances of aggravated assault.

Now let's look at those figures.

There are 51 States, Some states lack a national park; others have many. Some parks encompass land in more than one state. Parks vary greatly in size, but the largest are generally in the West and Alaska, where large blocks of undeveloped and government-owned land existed. However, new parks continue to be created throughout the country. Right now there are 390 National Parks so lets use that number.

8 murders - 390 Parks = 382 parks didn't have any

43 forcable rapes - 390 Parks = 347 didn't have any

57 robberies - 390 Parks = 333 didn't have any

274 aggravated assaults - 390 Parks = 116 didn't have any

By my reckoning even if you add all of these acts together it doesn't add up to 1 per park (382)

Due to those figures though these politicians believe we should all carry guns to protect ourselves!


Safety First

Surely the NPS and FWS law enforcement officers who already carry guns, on show, to the visitors should be enough protection. These men and women are trained in weapon management and are experienced in dealing with situations where things get overheated. They will not fire their gun in anger or because they are scared as a non-trained, inexperienced person would probably do. Instead of letting visitors carry firearms, why not employ more trained personel, with all of the jobs being lost nationwide surely this would be the sensible thing to do. It would be much safer than allowing gun-toting John Wayne's to carry theirs.


Animal Safety

Another concern are the animals that reside on NPS and WR lands. We all know of people who will go up to a bear or buffalo as if they were toys. These people are in danger from their own making, and can you imagine what they would do if the had a weapon? They would be getting closer because they felt bigger because of the gun . If the animal reacted to them the way wild animals do they could shoot them. A dangerous ruling.

* Signed from Senator Crappo - (ID), and Senator Baucus - (MT), Additional signators: Inhofe - (R - OK), Vitter - (R - LA), Smith - (R - OR), Hatch - (R - UT), Coleman (R - MN), Coburn - (R - OK), Gregg - (R - NH), Johnson - (D - SD), Tester - (D - MT), Pryor - (D - AR), Lincoln - (D - AR), Dorgan - (D - ND), Nelson - (D - NE), Webb - (D - VA), Ensign - (R - NV), Murkowski - (R - AK), Stevens - (R - AK), Chambliss - (R - GA), Isakson - (R - GA), Allard - (R - CO), Grassley - (R - IA), Roberts - (R - KS), Sununu - (R - NH), Bennett - (R - UT), Cochran - (R - MS), Bunning - (R - KY), Thune - (R - SD), Corker - (R - TN), Hutchison - (R - TX), Martinez - (R - FL), Cornyn - (R - TX), Hagel - (R - NE), Dole - (R - NC), McCain - (R - AZ), Brownback - (R - KS), DeMint - (R - SC), Kyl - (R - AZ), Shelby - (R - AL), Graham - (R - SC), Trent - (R-MS), Enzi - (R - WY), Barrasso - (R - WY), Domenici - (R - NM), Sessions - (R - AL).

Additionally a few months later the following Senators added their names to the list:
Feingold - (WI), Specter - (PA), Bond - (MO) and Wicker - (MS).


All photos and text on this site is the copyright of Gloria Hazell. 1998 - date.