Letters to the Editor
Readers write about guns in national parks and single-sex education.
There's no need for guns in national parks
Regarding the Aug. 19 article, "Bid to allow guns in parks": As a former national park ranger in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, I am opposed to allowing loaded weapons into our national parks. Our national parks are among the safest places in America, and I question the rationale for permitting loaded weapons in safe areas.
Will loaded guns make a safe park safer or will they increase chances of gun tragedies?
Permitting loaded guns into our parks will create a new set of potentially dangerous situations.
Many park employees and park volunteers are unarmed and have no police training to deal with armed people. However, at times, they have to handle visitors who are violating park regulations. If the visitors are armed and belligerent (and some do become abusive), very tragic incidents could develop, especially if alcohol or drugs are involved.
The presence of guns would make the duties of park personnel much more hazardous and expose them and the visitors to danger from gun accidents and gun violence.
When I was a ranger, no visitor ever complained to me that his or her Second Amendment rights were being violated, nor did anyone ever voice worries about safety in the park without a gun.
In my job, I was not a police ranger and did not carry a firearm. I never had an incident with people or animals in which I needed one.
Let's not spoil our parks with weapons. Keep loaded guns out of our parks.
In response to the recent article on guns in national parks: Here in Washington State, more than 5 percent of the adult population is licensed to carry a concealed weapon. Every day, people go to the store and walk among others with no concern. Why would allowing the same freedom in United States national parks be any different?
Crossing some boundary into a park doesn't change people and how they act.