Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Obama expected to sign legislation, on credit-card bill, allowing loaded guns in national parks

President Obama is expected to sign a bill allowing loaded guns to be carried in national parks "rather than derail a consumer-friendly credit card measure that Mr. Obama is eager to sign as Congress heads off for a Memorial Day recess," reports Carl Hulse of The New York Times. The gun measure was attached as an amendment by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., who told reporters, "Timing is everything in politics."

Most congressional Democrats favor some sort of gun control, and the party has majorities in the House and Senate, but those ranks "include senators and House members who represent Western states and more rural areas where gun ownership is popular and deemed sacrosanct," Hulse writes. "When those Democrats team up with Republicans, they constitute a clear majority in the House and Senate."

Coburn says the measure is less about the right to bear arms than about the rights of states in the federal system. "Under the proposal," Hulse writes, "people who are otherwise authorized under state law to have firearms would be entitled to have them in national parks and wildlife refuges unless a state law prohibited it. Currently, firearms must be unloaded and secured on those national lands, creating what backers of the bill say is a situation where someone passing through a park with a firearm can be charged with a violation." (Read more)

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