For nearly 95 years visitors to U.S. national parks have been prohibited from carrying firearms. In fact, the ban even extended to Teddy Roosevelt, who was once refused entry to Yellowstone while carrying a shotgun. But that ban was lifted yesterday when a new law went into effect allowing visitors to bring their guns along with them the next time they decide to visit Old Faithful or climb Half Dome.
The new law was passed as a rider bill to a credit card reform act that cleared Congress last May and was later signed by President Obama. It specifies that people who can legally own guns, and have completed the proper permitting process, can now bring their firearms with them to national parks. The law is superseded by the state laws in which the park falls however, meaning that some of the national parks will continue to have a ban on firearms.
The passage of the new law does not change the prohibition of the usage of firearms within the park, nor does it impact the ban on hunting within most parks. The Park Service also wisely points out that the ban on carrying the weapons still extends to “federal facilities,” which in this context includes visitor centers, offices, and maintenance buildings.
For their part, the NPS doesn’t believe this new law will have much of an impact on the vast majority of visitors to the parks. But just in case, they’ve updated their website providing all the specific information on each park and how the gun laws apply to that location.