As a life member of the ATC and as a life member of the NRA, I take strong
objection to the anti-Second Amendment tone of the attached.
I would have no problem with this subject being communicated to the trail
community -- were the messages to suggest that this is an important issue and
about which the members should communicate their personal opinions to their
various US Senators and Congressional Representatives.
However, the following email introduces an one-sided point-of-view on a
divisive issue. How would the Club members feel, were I introduced/forwarded
the emails that I receive from the National Rifle Association, Gun Owners of
America, Virginia Citizens Defense League, etc?
After all, what is good for the goose....
If you are happy with postings from one side of this and related issues, I'll
be happy to accommodate the club members with those from another point of
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Tuesday, March 11, 2008 3:39 PM
Subject: FW: Guns in Parks and Refuges
Virginia RPC and Club Presidents,
The two messages below discuss an effort to overturn current
regulations on possession of loaded firearms in National Parks and Wildlife
Refuges. I wasn't aware of such an initiative so wanted to bring it to you
and your club's attention. If you believe the current regulations regarding
guns on the AT and in National Parks are correct, then you may want to make
your support for them known to your Congressional senators and
representatives. All the information you need is in the attachments, although
Jo-Ann Davis' name continues to be listed, despite her death last year. In
the event the subject is brought up at the SPM, I wanted you all to be aware.
Sent: Tuesday, March 11, 2008 9:44 AM
Subject: FW: Guns in Parks and Refuges
This is a wonderful initiative by PATC. I am also sharing with ATC regional
office staff and the other RPC chairs; the New England, Virginia and the Deep
South RPCs all meet in the next several weeks.
I particularly appreciate your sensitivity to hunters and fishermen in our
ranks. They are our natural allies among the "hook & bullet" crowd. We don't
oppose the lawful and traditional uses of our public lands for sports pursuits
like hunting, just the election-year, 2nd amendment politicking and that seems
a malady peculiar to the USA. Your list of parks and refuges is particularly
sobering in those respects.
Sent: Monday, March 10, 2008 8:38 PM
Subject: Guns in Parks and Refuges
The Potomac Appalachian Trail Club is writing to you and other trail
enthusiasts throughout Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and
the District of Columbia to call your attention to an issue of serious
In recent months, the National Rifle Association has launched a
concerted effort, aimed at both the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Department of
the Interior, to overturn current regulations on possession of loaded firearms
in National Parks and Wildlife Refuges. Current regulations generally
prohibit individuals from possessing guns in parks and refuges unless they are
unloaded or are packed, cased, or stored in a manner that will prevent their
ready use. (See 36 CFR 2.4 and 50 CFR 27.42.)
Legislation to change these regulations has been introduced in both the
House and Senate: H.R. 5434 by Representative Jeb Hensarling (TX) and S. 2619
by Senator Tom Coburn (OK). In addition, on February 22, Secretary of the
Interior Dirk Kempthorne announced a plan to make changes administratively by
starting a rulemaking process to "update" existing firearms regulations to
reflect ".the laws by which the host States govern transporting and carrying
firearms on their analogous public lands." Secretary Kempthorne said he will
issue the proposed rule changes by April 30 for public comment.
The Potomac Appalachian Trail Club strongly opposes legislative or
administrative changes to current park and refuge firearms regulations. If
Congress or the Interior Department overturns the current firearms
restrictions, we believe places like the Appalachian National Scenic Trail,
trails of Shenandoah National Park, the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National
Historical Park and the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail would be put at
risk. The sense of sanctuary and safety experienced by our members in these
areas would be lost, natural and cultural park resources would be threatened,
and poaching (already a growing problem) would become more prevalent.
PATC has worked closely with you and other trail enthusiasts over the
years to establish, maintain and preserve hiking trails in Pennsylvania,
Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. Now it's time
to protect our investment!
We hope you'll join us in opposing this threat to the well-being of
our parks and refuges and visitor enjoyment of them. If you share our
concerns, here's what you can do to help:
1) Write to your Senators and Member of Congress:
• Ask them to oppose legislative efforts to change existing park and
• Tell them that existing regulations are reasonable and sensibly serve
to protect park resources, visitors, and wildlife.
• Allowing loaded guns in parks and refuges could lead to a dramatic
increase in random and unnecessary killing of wildlife.
• Allowing loaded guns in parks and refuges would degrade the visitor
experience, jeopardize safety, and put natural and cultural park resources at
2) Educate and activate your own networks. Forward this e-mail.
Circulate the attached, one page "Action Alert." It's important that
Congress hear from more than one side of this debate. Attached is a list of
National Park Service areas and wildlife refuges that would be affected by the
proposals in PA, MD, VA, WV, and DC. Also attached are names, addresses, and
phone numbers of Members of Congress.
3) Plan to comment on Secretary Kempthorne's proposed regulatory
changes when they are issued at the end of April. Stay tuned topotomacappalachian.org - Home
for more information.
Thanks for any help you can give. If you'd like PATC to send you further
information on this issue as events develop, please send your name and e-mail