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DeMint, Coburn Bill Protecting Gun Rights in National Parks Passes Energy Committee

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

DeMint, Coburn Bill Protecting Gun Rights in National Parks Passes Energy Committee

Legislation will allow Americans to protect themselves from violent crimes

Today, U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) made the following statement after the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources voted 18-5 to pass the Protecting Americans from Violent Crime Act of 2008, legislation he offered on behalf of U.S. Senator Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma) to help ensure that law-abiding citizens can protect themselves from violent crime in national parks and wildlife refuges. The legislation now awaits consideration on the Senate floor at a time to be determined by Democrat Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada).

"This is a common sense approach to firearm regulation, and an important protection of Second Amendment rights," said Senator DeMint. "When someone walks into a national park they shouldn't have to surrender their constitutional right to keep and bear arms. I hope the Senator Reid recognizes the broad bipartisan support for this bill and brings it to the floor quickly for passage. I also want to specifically thank Senator Coburn for his strong leadership on second amendment rights and focusing our attention on this issue."

Currently, regulations enacted by unelected bureaucrats at the National Park Service (NPS) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) have prohibited law-abiding citizens from possessing firearms on some federal lands - even when just a few feet away in a state park they could carry the same firearms.

Senator DeMint's bill will not override state and local laws that prohibit the possession of firearms and otherwise do not provide state residents with conceal and carry permits. National monuments will still be governed by U.S. law and visitors to national parks in states with no conceal and carry laws will be required to follow state law. The legislation will simply apply commonsense regulations across all federal lands, and will add consistency to the rules for carrying firearms on various federal lands.

This legislation carries wide bipartisan support, as witnessed today in the committee. Earlier this year, 51 senators sent a letter to U.S. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne asking him to remove the restrictive regulations.

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