BELLEVUE, WA – The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms today is urging gun owners to back legislation sponsored by Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) that would enable private citizens to carry defensive sidearms in national parks.

“This is responsible, sensible legislation,” said CCRKBA Chairman Alan M. Gottlieb, “and it is a genuine shame that the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) has mounted a campaign to derail this important effort.

“PEER issued an alarmist press release that mirrors hysteria currently being pandered by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence about Coburn’s S. 2483,” Gottlieb noted. “Their specious argument is that allowing legally-licensed private citizens to carry concealed, defensive firearms inside national parks would contribute to poaching and open the door to sport hunting. That is a pretty flimsy sham to cover their real objection, which is against American citizens exercising their right of self-defense in an emergency on national park property.”

Gottlieb, co-author of America Fights Back: Armed Self-Defense in a Violent Age, noted that an entire chapter of that book is devoted to rising criminal activity in national parks and on national forest lands.

“PEER and their soulmates at the Brady Campaign want to continue operating national parks as victim disarmament zones,” Gottlieb observed. “American citizens do not leave their right of self-defense, not to mention their constitutional right to keep and bear arms, at the gates of a national park, but under current regulations, one-tenth of the Bill of Rights is suspended on national park property, and that cannot be allowed to continue.

“This has nothing to do with hunting or poaching,” he added, “and officials at PEER who issued a public statement against the Coburn amendment, knows it. Rhetoric about poaching and hunting amounts to a red herring designed to divert attention away from the real issue of public safety in national parks.

“For too many years, the National Park Service has been allowed to suspend the Second Amendment on lands it manages,” Gottlieb concluded. “But those lands are public lands, and they belong to all of us, not just some anti-gun park service bureaucrats, PEER gun control advocates or the Brady Campaign. It’s time for the Coburn Amendment to become law.”