February 22, 2008

Crapo Encouraged By Kempthorne's Directive On Firearms On Public Land

Proposed rule a step in the right direction

Boise, ID - Idaho Senator Mike Crapo praised the efforts of Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne to begin the process of removing federal regulations that severely restrict law-abiding citizens' rights to transport and carry firearms on certain public lands. Crapo received a letter today from Kempthorne stating that he will move to update these firearms regulations.

"I have directed Assistant Secretary Lyle Laverty, who oversees regulatory matters for parks and refuges, to develop and propose for public comment by April 30 Federal regulations that will update firearms policies on these lands to reflect existing Federal laws (such as those prohibiting weapons in Federal buildings) and the laws by which the host States govern transporting and carrying of firearms on their analogous public lands," Kempthorne said in the letter.

"I commend Secretary Kempthorne for taking steps to uphold the rights of citizens under the Second Amendment and eliminate inconsistent regulations," Crapo said in response to the letter. "I look forward to continuing the work on behalf of law-abiding gun owners and hope that by the end of this year, final regulations will be issued which respect the rights of law-abiding gun owners."

On December 17, 2007, Crapo sent a letter to Kempthorne requesting that the National Park Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service remove their severe restrictions on the carrying and transport of firearms by law-abiding gun owners, and instead defer to state gun laws, which is currently the practice of the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service. The letter was signed by a bipartisan group of 47 senators. On February 11, 2008, a bipartisan group of four more senators sent a letter to Secretary Kempthorne expressing their support for Senator Crapo's policy request.

Crapo and his colleagues are concerned that the current regulations are confusing and inconsistent and should be improved in a way that protects the rights of law-abiding gun owners.