By: José Niño
Back during the 111th Congress, under President Barack Obama’s administration, no-compromise Second Amendment organizations such as Gun Owners of America were able to work with then-Senator Tom Coburn to tack on a pro-gun “national parks” amendment, S. Amdt. 1068, to the Credit Card Act of 2009.
This amendment allowed for law-abiding Americans to defend themselves and their loved ones by carrying firearm at national parks. Despite the typical fearmongering that this amendment inspired, national parks did not turn into shooting galleries.
But as gun owners who actually care about restoring the Second Amendment, we are always looking to push the envelope and not settling for less. In the aforementioned case, Obama did not extend the amendment’s safeguards to Corps of Engineers lands as Gun Owners of America (GOA) authors originally intended.
During the last decade, the National Park Services has recognized the validity of the Second Amendment at national parks, but the Army Corps of Engineers has not done the same.
The game is now changing, however. On April 13, the Trump administration’s Army Corps of Engineers issued a request for comment on its new regulations that would have its lands subject to the same pro-Second Amendment provisions active at federal parks. As GOA noted in a national alert, law-abiding Americans “would be able to possess and use firearms on these lands to the same extent as the state in which the land is located.”
Throughout the country, the Army Corps of Engineers controls large portions of land, which includes 400 lake and river projects in 43 states. GOA eloquently asserts that, “It makes no sense that your rights to protect yourself differs from one part of a state to another merely because you cross an arbitrary line. Furthermore, the logistics of such a rule have been virtually impossible to comply with.”
GOA is in the right by pushing for this change. There is nothing special about federal lands that necessitate the disarmament of lawful Americans who demonstrate good behavior in all sorts of venues.
Outdoorsmen and women have until June 12, 2020, to comment on the proposed rule.
Although a divided Congress practically makes it impossible to pass any pro-gun reforms at the moment, any kind of change that the Trump administration can make through administrative tweaks is appreciated.
That said, we should not lose sight of larger goals such as securing pro-gun majorities in both chambers of Congress. To pass genuine and long-lasting pro-gun reforms, all branches of government must be on the same page when it comes to restoring our Second Amendment rights.
José Niño is a Venezuelan American freelance writer based in Austin, Texas. Sign up for his mailing list here. Contact him via Facebook, Twitter, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Get his e-book, The 10 Myths of Gun Control, here.