Federal rule change to allow concealed weapons in parks.
Interior Department move raises worries for animals and visitors
By Mike Clary | South Florida Sun-Sentinel
December 26, 2008
Beginning Jan. 9, visitors to Everglades National Park and most other U.S. wildlife refuges will be permitted to pack a concealed weapon along with their mosquito repellent and sunscreen as they head out into the great outdoors.
But the Bush administration's last-minute reversal of a decades-old ban on loaded handguns in parks has alarmed National Park Service officials, who fear areas now among the safest in the nation will become more perilous for park rangers, visitors and endangered animals.
"More guns always increase potential for incidents, and that's something law enforcement never likes to see," said Linda Friar, an Everglades National Park spokeswoman.
Friar said park rangers reported 39 incidents involving firearms in 2007.(read more)