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Park service = LEOs?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by iowajones, Jan 16, 2009.

  1. iowajones

    iowajones New Member

    Given that there is a "Duty to Inform" law here in NC, if I am in Great Smokey Mountains National Park (as an example), do I have to notify a park ranger that I am legally carrying if I come into contact with him/her? That is, are they considered law enforcement officers?
  2. Frog48

    Frog48 New Member

    Depends how the state statute is written. If it generically says "all law enforcement officers", then yes I suppose you have a duty to inform. It also depends if National Park Service regulations require a duty to inform.

    Here in Texas, state law specifically says "peace officers", which technically does not include federal LEO's, because they are federally commissioned, not state-licensed peace officers.
  3. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard New Member

    Yes they are LEOs.
  4. Duke of Doubt

    Duke of Doubt member

    While your statutes regarding concealed carry in your state are a lot more important than my personal conjecture, I will ... conject .. that it depends on the circumstances. For example, I don't have to identify myself as carrying concealed, but always do when pulled over. It scores boucoup points. That does not mean that I scream out every time I see a cop on the beat. Are we talking about an "encounter" where he has you at gunpoint for poaching, or are we talking about spotting a Ranger two thousand yards across the vale?
  5. Titan6

    Titan6 member

    The National Park Service has many sworn officers. Just working for the park service does not make one a LEO, just like working for the sheriff's department does not make one a LEO.
  6. Titan6

    Titan6 member

    Most states this isn't needed. The LEO has a computer in his car and has already looked up your registration, found the owner's DL, run that and determined whether or not the owner has a CCL any warrants and anything else that might be helpful. Ain't technology grand?
  7. armedandsafe

    armedandsafe New Member

    If you are just passing on the trail, I would say No, you don't have to stop him and whip out your CCW paperwork, any more than you would have to show any other form of ID.

    However, if it is a "contact," where the officer approaches you and initiates the "contact, I would say yes.

    My opinion and how I would react. "Papers, please," and I would show everything. "Howdy," and I'd respond and pass by.

  8. iowajones

    iowajones New Member

    Thanks for the opinions.
    To clarify slightly, my concern is not about when to inform an LEO, but for whether or not one should consider park rangers to be LEOs. Yes, there surely is a hierarchy in the park service and every employee isn't an LEO, but I can see how a ranger could be.
    Does anyone know if they have arrest powers? Does that define an LEO? If not, what does? I'm sure that the park rangers aren't really up on these issues yet, either, since they're just letting us in.
  9. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear New Member

    Rangers are LEO's, but not everyone who wears a ranger-like uniform and works for the Park Service is necessarily a Ranger. The NPS employs a lot of people, ranging from janitors to scientists, and AFAIK they all wear NPS uniforms of one sort or another at work.

    I'm sure the NPS people want to know if the guy who just went into the bear cave is one of them, or another stupid tourist.
  10. Frog48

    Frog48 New Member

    Depends which type of Ranger you encounter.

    One of my profs is a seasonal NPS law enforcement Ranger (many, if not most, Rangers are seasonal). He says that this title is confusing to alot of people, because there are two types of "Rangers" that work for the NPS. There are the law enforcement/protection Rangers, and there are the "interpretation" Rangers. The LE Rangers are LEO's to be sure. The interpretation Rangers are historians, foresters, etc. The Rangers you see leading tours and talking about Old Faithful and the Grand Canyon are the interpretation Rangers, and these do not have any law enforcement authority, according to my prof.

    While they have vastly different responsibilities and levels of authority, they both have the formal title of "Park Ranger" and federal occupational series #0025.
  11. exbiologist

    exbiologist New Member

    I thought you couldn't carry in a National Park? Isn't that forbidden? There is a sign in front of every gate that says "All firearms must be unloaded and disassembled".
    I know this was recently brought up in legislation, but I don't know what happened with it.
  12. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear New Member

    ...not to be confused with Texas Rangers, either...
  13. NDN-MAN

    NDN-MAN New Member

    Short answer is call the local park office and ask. I did this by asking about empolyment as a ranger. I was told that the LEO positions were very different, from regular rangers. Most of the rangers are not LEO's. Most are service workers and have no LEO training..
    If the ranger is armed he/she is a LEO. Most others are not.
    But please check your facts before you do anything.
  14. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard New Member


    As of the ninth of this month, national parks follow the laws of the state they lie in for CCW. Meaning, all Utah natl parks are now may carry, but Utah is also a must inform state.

    I said yes because the OP asked specifically about 'rangers', not NPS in general. Tour guides, fee takers, and visitor center custodians are not rangers. In the parks I grew up next to, rengers have badges and guns. That makes it pretty simple to me. (And I'm sure to any judge who wanted to drill you on the theory.)
  15. workingstiff

    workingstiff New Member


    If they are carrying a firearm on their hip, tell them you are carrying.
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2009
  16. John828

    John828 New Member

    yep, workingstuff, you hit the bullseye.

    But, I must ask: If you are stopped by a(n) NPS employee, then the employee must think they have some "power" to stop. In a common sense situation, if you deem it reasonable to say, "I am armed," then, say it.
  17. makarovnik

    makarovnik New Member

    It does depend what state as far as informing police officers you are carrying. Parks might be different I don't know.
  18. RockyMtnTactical

    RockyMtnTactical New Member

    Sure, you probably should.
  19. coloradokevin

    coloradokevin Active Member

    ^^ What he said.

    I live in CO, and spend an awful lot of time in Rocky Mountain National Park. For every actual "Ranger" (LEO) there are probably a dozen people that dress similarly (fee collectors, visitor center employees, naturalists on tours, etc). Here's my litmus test for it: Does the person have a gun on their hip? The rangers who are tasked with LE functions are equipped like police officers, not like toll collectors. Their uniform shirt, pants, and hats may all look alike, but the fee collectors are not armed, nor are the visitor center employees.

    That said, a true "ranger" is a LEO, and should be treated as such. Also, I'd go with the same approach that someone else said already. I'd inform if you are ever detained for something in the park (a "contact"). If you are pulled over while driving, or stopped on suspicion of some offense, I'd assume that your "duty to inform" is then in effect. However, if you merely talk to a ranger on the trail, or have a non-investigatory chat with one, I would not consider it necessary to reveal that information.

    As always, the wording of your state's laws make all of the difference in the world!
  20. rich636

    rich636 New Member

    Iowajones...so you're the other gun owner in Carrboro/Chapel Hill? :D

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