BELLEVUE, WA – With passage by the House earlier today of legislation that will allow legally armed citizens to carry loaded firearms in national parks, Congress has taken a responsible step toward increasing park safety for millions of visitors, whether they are armed or not, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms said.

The measure passed the Senate last week on a lopsided 67-29 vote with 27 Democrats and one Independent joining 39 Republicans. Today’s House vote was equally lopsided, with 279 voting in favor of the measure and 147 voting against it.

“This is a great victory for gun rights and common sense,” said CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb. “The gun prohibitionist lobby thought they had outmaneuvered the constitution with a lawsuit in March that blocked a new National Park Service rule to allow licensed concealed carry in parks. However, this legislation, which we expect President Obama to sign, essentially moots that lawsuit.

“Citizens do not leave their right of self-defense at the entrance of a national park,” he continued. “Unarmed park visitors will benefit from the deterrent effect this new statute will have on criminals, and that will be especially important if budget cuts reduce the number of commissioned park rangers.

“Those who portray this measure as an attack on public safety will soon be proven wrong, as they have been in the past when they opposed concealed carry legislation in state after state,” Gottlieb predicted. “This new law, which takes effect nine months after the president signs it, restores the Second Amendment to national parks and wildlife refuges.

“Public land, including national park and refuge land, belongs to all of the people,” Gottlieb concluded. “Armed citizens have just as much right to enjoy these parks as anyone, and their presence will make parks safer.”