Today, a new law goes into effect that allows firearms in many national parks.
Previously, guns were generally prohibited in national parks, except for some in Alaska and in parks that allow hunting.
Now, the national parks — there are nearly 60 in this area — follow local gun laws. Anyone who can legally possess firearms under federal and state law can now possess those firearms in the national parks in that state, except in federal facilities such as visitor centers and ranger stations.
In fact, some folks suggested driving their guns out to Great Falls this afternoon, just because they can.
So what does this mean for, say, the Jefferson Memorial? Or the Mall?
Because DC laws typically prohibit concealed or open carry, firearms would not be allowed at the DC parks, said Sergeant David Schlosser of the United States Park Police.
But once you leave the District, state laws take over.
So that opens the possibility to guns not just at Great Falls, but on the battlefields (ironic), the C&O Canal towpath, the Mt. Vernon trails, the GW and BW parkways, even Claude Moore Colonial Farm.
And jurisdictional lines are not always obvious in this area. For example, Schlosser explained, a stretch of George Washington Parkway between Boundary Channel Drive and Hump Back Bridge is in the District, not Virginia. The bridge to Theodore Roosevelt Island is in Virginia, but the park is in DC.
The National Parks Conservation Association opposed the law, saying it will decrease visitor and employee safety and increase poaching and opportunistic shooting of wildlife. This makes perfect sense to me. As does the idea of parks as preserves.
So. Who’s up for a hike on peaceful lil’ Roosevelt Island?