National Parks--are they Constitutional?


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Skunkabilly
June 21, 2005, 01:21 PM
Are they?

And to keep it gun related, do state gun laws apply in the national parks? (i.e. even if I can't carry with my CA permit, can I have an AR-15 unloaded and not readily accessible?)

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50 Freak
June 21, 2005, 03:00 PM
Are they consitutional? NO

But I still carry my Glock20 with full powered loads when I pack through the woods. It's not for the four legged critters, but for the 2 legged drunk critters that usually inhabit the national forest. Not that the G20 wouldn't work on a four legged critter. :evil:

dave3006
June 21, 2005, 03:49 PM
Skunk, how did you get an AR-15?

I think you can have a gun disassembled in a locked case (please check for accuracy). I know it is illegal to carry with your CCW in the Nat'l Park. For educational purposes, that is why God invented Smartcarry with an untucked shirt. No flashing or printing is possible. With this approach, it is more likely that a meteor will fall on your left foot than you will get caught.

Malamute
June 21, 2005, 04:20 PM
I don't know the letter of the law, but there are signs at the entrances of Yellowstone park saying that firearms have to be unloaded and broken down if possible, inaccessable and cased etc.

When living in Az years ago, we would ride motorcycles into the Grand Canyon park, the gate rangers told us to unload and put our pistols in our saddle bags.

Cosmoline
June 21, 2005, 04:48 PM
The NPS is a paramilitary organization. They keep caches of M-16's on hand and are prepared to serve as adjuncts to the military if the need arises. They also rule the parks as their exclusive territory. Unlike other federal land management agencies, the NPS has its own set of laws and could give a wet slap what the states think about it. It shouldn't be constitutional, but the courts let it happen anyway.

45crittergitter
June 21, 2005, 09:30 PM
Pretty much 99% of gun control laws ARE NOT constitutional, period. :banghead:

Jeff White
June 22, 2005, 03:21 PM
Moving to Legal and Political..Jeff

TallPine
June 22, 2005, 03:33 PM
I pretty much avoid National Parks (victim disarmament zones) for that reason, as I also avoid places like New Jersey and Red China.

Though I did visit the Big Hole Battlefield a couple years ago. No weapons allowed, even on the trail. No harming of wildlife either - including rattlesnakes I suppose ...? :rolleyes:

I wonder what they would do if they knew I slapped and killed a few dozen government mosquitos ? :p

Anyway, the disarmament of the peasants is just about fitting for a place where the Army massacred men, women, and children. The only reason it isn't the "Big Hole Massacre" is because the Nez Perce managed to form a counterattack and whip the soldier's butts.

richyoung
June 22, 2005, 03:34 PM
Actually, the Parks themselves are unconstitutional. The Federal Government is not authorized to own land inside the United States except under the Constitution's Article 1 Section 8, Clause 17, which reads:
"Clause 17: To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings,"

The Tenth Ammendment reads thusly:"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor
prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to
the people."

The combination of the two LIMITS what the Federal governemnt can own - it has to be either part of D.C, or a "fort, magazine, arsenal, dock-yard," or other "needful building", and it has to be with the consent of the legislature of the State in which it is in. Otherwise, if the government can just own anything, why have the Section 17 in the first place? Since you have it, and the Constitution it was in was modified by the Tenth, the right to own parks, forrests, wilderness areas, etc, is reserved to "the States...or the people thereof..: That's why the Oklahoma land-rush and various other land disbursement schemes were enacted - the Fed COULDN'T retain ownership of the land, especially after the teritory became a state! Then Teddy Roosevelt came along, and decided not to tet the law of the land ruin his fun....

Henry Bowman
June 22, 2005, 04:07 PM
and it has to be with the consent of the legislature of the State in which it is in. LOL. Oh, yeah. I can see that happening. :rolleyes:

Skunkabilly
June 22, 2005, 04:35 PM
The combination of the two LIMITS what the Federal governemnt can own - it has to be either part of D.C, or a "fort, magazine, arsenal, dock-yard," or other "needful building", and it has to be with the consent of the legislature of the State in which it is in. Otherwise, if the government can just own anything, why have the Section 17 in the first place? Since you have it, and the Constitution it was in was modified by the Tenth, the right to own parks, forrests, wilderness areas, etc, is reserved to "the States...or the people thereof..: That's why the Oklahoma land-rush and various other land disbursement schemes were enacted - the Fed COULDN'T retain ownership of the land, especially after the teritory became a state! Then Teddy Roosevelt came along, and decided not to tet the law of the land ruin his fun....


Yeah that's what I was going for originally but tried to keep it gun related. I know the 10th Amendment but missed the section 17.

Sorry Jeff White thought I posted in L&P. Probably had multiple windows open, oops!

So BLM land (the more relatively gun-friendly land in CA) is unconstitutional as well?

Wiley
June 22, 2005, 05:14 PM
Am I the only one who knows of:
The 'Yellow Stone Dock Yard'?
The 'Chattahoochee River Air Craft Carrier Maintenance Facility'?
The 'Painted Desert Drydock'?

Oh.... I guess I wasn't supposed to tell. Something like 40% of the land west of the Mississippi is Federaly "owned". To bad the owners can't get to it.

richyoung
June 22, 2005, 05:16 PM
That would be the way I read it - that land should either have been disbursed to the people, (homesteads, land rush), a business (railroad land grants, land patents), or reverted to State ownership at the time of statehood (Texas uses theirs to support public universities). The fact that they weren't is the subject of much rumbling on the part of western states like Arizona, who have to supply services, (roads, etc) to areas that are permanently off of the tax base. Silly them, they feel like they should have hte same rights as New York or Georgia...

sumpnz
June 22, 2005, 08:10 PM
Otherwise, if the government can just own anything, why have the Section 17 in the first place? BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Silly boy. That's like asking why the Commerce Clause exists.

KriegHund
June 22, 2005, 08:20 PM
I for one am glad of national parks.

Hawkmoon
June 22, 2005, 09:58 PM
I am also glad that national parks exist, but I do not agree with their being victim disarmament zones.

To the person who started this thread: National Parks are "No Guns Allowed." Period.

You may be confusing national parks with national forests. National forests, in general, defer to the laws of the state(s) in which the forest is located.

LAR-15
June 22, 2005, 10:06 PM
Guns are not allowed in national parks so people aren't poaching animals.

"Look Jim a 6x6 bull elk. Lemme see your .44!"

Skunkabilly
June 23, 2005, 11:06 AM
The ones I've been to said that guns were permitted so long as they are, something like, 'unloaded and stored in a manner where they are not readily accessible.'

I like the national parks too. I just found it un-libertarian of me. (yeah my acquaitances online will blackball me if they find out I'm a liberal :p )

Harve Curry
June 23, 2005, 11:33 AM
I think the Parks and Nat. Monuments like Grand Canyon, YellowStone, Saguaro National Monument (around Tucson Az) all require you DO NOT have any firearms by thier regulations, that are enforced as law. Same with Az. State Parks. If I'm riding horseback or hiking through part of Saguaro N.M. in the Rincon Mnts. which borders and is part of the Coronado National Forest , I cannot have a firearm in any way or condition with me.

It plainly is not Constitutional. It's not even a law, another regulation that is enforced as a law.

Browns Fan
June 23, 2005, 12:22 PM
They become unconstitutional when:

1. They become no-gun zones (already duly noted).

2. They grab private land.

TheEgg
June 23, 2005, 01:00 PM
Constitution? Whats that? :banghead:

cloudkiller
June 23, 2005, 06:07 PM
What if the rules on National Parks actually prohibited the USE of firearms, except in self defense?

Basically, poaching, target shooting, etc. would be illegal. That is what the laws are intended to prevent. A. Wildlife B. Innocent bystanders who shouldn't have to worry they are in the line of fire.

It would be funny if they banned rifles and shotguns but allowed handguns?

Molon Labe
June 23, 2005, 06:10 PM
National Parks--are they Constitutional?Based on today's ruling by the Taco Supreme Court, everything is Constitutional...

Snake Eyes
June 23, 2005, 06:18 PM
Harve--

I believe you are mistaken about AZ State parks. All the state parks I frequent post signs that weapons are not allowed unless authorized under (insert statute number for concealed carry here).

A ruling in the last few years forced that change, which allows CCW permitees to carry in parks.

I suppose I could look up all the relevent laws and rulings, but I'm lazy and I might find out I'm wrong.

Art Eatman
June 23, 2005, 07:24 PM
richyoung, the Article you referenced applied only to the seat of government.

See Article IV, Section 3, second paragraph: "The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needed Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other property belonging to the United States..."

So, Congress has the authority to enable the NPS as to what land and what rules pertain--which has been done since Teddy Roosevelt pushed the effort to start the NPS.

Art

Cosmoline
June 23, 2005, 07:30 PM
The real legal question is whether, under the equal footing doctrine, western states should have been given title to the federal land holdings when they became states. Obviously, they weren't. The feds have held onto their turf and divided it up amongst their agencies. And the equal footing doctrine is currently the Rodney Dangerfield of legal theories. Personally, I would rather see the Empire of Japan in control of our land than the NPS.

Malamute
June 24, 2005, 03:32 PM
I guess I'm also in the minority here. I don't mind the parks, nor the National Forests being publicly owned. I'm REAL glad the lands in the west weren't disbursed for private ownership, as the country around here would then be as screwed up and overpopulated as the east and left coast. Whine all you want about the technical aspects of it, but I wouldn't trade the Rocky Mountain states for anything and everything east of the mountains. I live here because of all the National Forest and public land, and the lack of population and development. The freedom to use the land here is not even remotely duplicated in areas with all private land. Would we all like to have to be a member of a hunting or shooting club to be able to hunt or shoot? THAT situation is one where hunters and shooters can be controlled.

As far as the NPS being a scary evil entity by having M-16's and backing up the military if needed, I hope that comment was tongue in cheek, because I had to laugh when I read it. Most NPS employees are seasonal, and don't know which end of a gun is what. The LE qualified ones have some degree of training, but it is barely adequet training and personel to cover the park lands from those that I've seen and talked to. They have guns, so what. Maybe I'm not suspicious enough of them, but they seem to be minding their own business for the most part.

Telperion
June 24, 2005, 04:00 PM
It seems like the best way to stay within the bounds of the Constitution, and to do right by the spirit of the parks system, is to spin off NPS as a private entity (or entities), as was done with the DCM/CMP. With an endowment supplemented by user fees, they could be self-sufficient.

TheEgg
June 24, 2005, 04:49 PM
Whine all you want about the technical aspects of it,

Yeah, those silly ole technical aspects, like the constitution, and original intent -- we should just stop whining about silly stuff like that. :rolleyes:

SLCDave
June 24, 2005, 06:15 PM
Malamute, I don't think anyone here would dispute the beauty and enjoyment that can be found in the National Parks. I love Yellowstone and the Grand Teton Nat'l Parks, particularly. I guess the larger question is why the Federal Government has to step in , unconstitutionally, and tell the States what they can and cannot do with their own land (Sound similar to any current events?). Why not allow the individual States set up their own guidelines as to how things should be run, and to profit from their own park systems? Shouldn't Wyoming benefit from my $35 gate fee to get into these 2 parks, and the money I pay to camp and enjoy the land in Wyoming? Couldn't Wyoming do just as good or a better job running things from a local level? Who knows what is best for your land in your state, the folks who have a real vested interest in it by living there, or someone several thousand miles away sitting in an office, who may never have crossed the Mississippi? Why should some suit that has never touched a gun decide that YOU can't carry a gun somewhere in YOUR State, when the same State has issued you a permit to do just that?

This is just one more instance of the Federal Government forgetting its place.

Upriver
June 24, 2005, 06:43 PM
Malamute

As far as the NPS being a scary evil entity by having M-16's and backing up the military if needed, I hope that comment was tongue in cheek, because I had to laugh when I read it.

It'd be tounge in cheek if it wasn't, unfortunately, true. There's a great bit of variety, but especially in the border parks, rangers are becoming less and less the friendly folks that help with a flat tire, and more the kind that:

Set up remote cameras to monitor potential "smuggling"

Use night vision to observe visitor activities in campgrounds and popular areas at night.

Conduct "operations" with other federal agencies.

True, and in my opinion, sad.

You're correct that a good number of the seasonal folks don't know which end of the gun is the business end...but the full-time folks have at the minimum a side-arm, shotgun, and AR-15.

As far as gun laws go... the parks are all different, although for the most part, ithey're a "no loaded firearms" area. This varies as some units allow hunting in season, but you've got to check on a case by case basis.

For what it's worth, NPS units also set their own rules about fishing and hunting, regardless of state regs.

Malamute
June 24, 2005, 11:47 PM
I guess I was transfering some of my comments towards National Forests, as some earlier comments were tending in that direction. I do understand the concern for constitional propriety, tho some of this was addressed by one of the other posters. I'm not up to speed on the particular constitutional issues. Having lived in western states for 25 years, I just don't see some of the things happening that some expressed concern for, tho it may be happening in other areas. The NPS has guns, that doesn't bother me. If I worked for them, I'd want guns too, particularly if dopers and smugglers were using the park lands or adjacent lands for criminal activities. They are a federal agency, that is part of their job description, and they are charged with protecting and preserving the lands under their administration. No, I don't think it's perfect, but I'm glad we have the big parks, and the National Forests. I for one am not too impressed with how most of the private land has been used and developed back east.

State forestes and parks may be fine. They seem to work OK for the most part as National Forests and parks in the area I'm in.

Just my opinion.

Art Eatman
June 24, 2005, 11:50 PM
At Big Bend National Park on the Rio Grande in west Texas, I can understand the Park Rangers using night vision equipment and being prepared for a firefight. For instance, smugglers aren't totally happified by losing some 300 kilos to "the fuzz", as once happened.

Burro trains of up to a ton of marijuana are swum across the river and led through the Park, for delivery on upcountry. This was a common method for some neighbors I once had.

For an NPS employee to be certified as a full-bore Smokey the Bear and tote a gun, he must first go through the FLETC.

Over the last 20 or so years, even Yellowstone has gotten at times to be rather wild and wooly as to the need for law enforcement against theft and violence in the campgrounds.

I've seen a relative few park rangers who were overbearing, but generally not. I don't have a lot of use for the administrators that BBNP has had during these last 30 years of my experience as a tourist and neighbor.

Art

JPM70535
June 25, 2005, 01:52 AM
Actually I have no real objection to a gun free national Parks System, Just as long as the Feds accept total responsibility for my personal safety while I make use of their (Ours actually) facility. I woulld require at minimum, one Ranger for Bear Patrol, and a 4 man squad to attend to the 2 legged carnivores that seem to inhabit the Parks.
Cant agree to that one? Guess it's back to being an outlaw.

JPM

Upriver
June 27, 2005, 06:10 PM
Art,

As someone dearly in love with the area surrounding BBNP, I too can understand the need for the Law enforcement staf to be sufficiently armed. I simply wish, that with what seems like an already overwhelming presence of Border Patrol in, and around that area the NPS LEO's could focus less on drug interdiction and more on visitor interaction.

To me, if the effort to quash smuggling (except as it impinges on visitor safety) results in a loss of privacy in the wilderness (who expects cameras and night-vision out there?) it's not a trade-off that makes sense to me.

Let the B.P. take on the smuggling problem, and put Rangers back on the trails, in the campgrounds, and on the river (when it's there) to give a leg up to your average visitor.

As a side note...only the full-time folks get FLETC - but there's still a slew of seasonal folks out there with lesser commissions that carry firearms, and are woefully un-prepared to use them.

Wish I was still down in the area regularly, and could discuss this over a beer at the Kiva.

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