President Must Show Leadership on Guns in Parks, Urge Clean Credit Card Reform Bill

May 15, 2009, 16:14 ET from Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence

WASHINGTON, May 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence called on President Obama to demand a clean credit card reform bill, without the dangerous and extraneous Coburn amendment that could allow concealed handguns and openly carried AK-47s in national parks.

"The country needs President Obama to show leadership and demand a clean bill that will not force loaded guns into our national parks and bypass a Federal court ruling and an environmental review. Families should not have to stare down loaded AK-47s on nature hikes," Brady Campaign President Paul Helmke said. "The President should not remain silent while Congress inserts reckless gun policies that he strongly opposes into a bill that has nothing whatsoever to do with guns. He should urge that this provision be removed from the bill."

Late Tuesday, the U.S. Senate voted 67-29 for the Coburn amendment, attached to an unrelated credit card reform bill, which allows loaded guns in national parks. The Coburn amendment allows open carrying of loaded firearms, including semiautomatic assault rifles, in most national parks and refuges.

Rules in place since the Reagan Administration have restricted guns in the national parks, generally requiring them to be locked or stored. At the behest of the gun lobby and over the objections of National Park Service career officials, the Bush Administration issued a last minute rule change allowing loaded, concealed weapons in the parks.

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and other groups successfully sued to stop the rule, resulting in an injunction issued on March 19, 2009 by U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly blocking the guns in parks rule, in which she called the rulemaking process "astoundingly flawed." After initially defending the rule, the Obama Administration agreed not to appeal the injunction ruling, and instead to conduct a full Environmental Impact Statement analyzing the harm that guns in parks would cause to the parks and park visitors.

The Coburn Amendment would override the court's injunction and could force the government to allow both concealed carrying of loaded firearms and open carrying of loaded guns, including assault weapons, unless states specifically ban the carrying of these weapons in national parks and refuges. Most states do not regulate the carrying of weapons on federal land.

As the nation's largest, non-partisan, grassroots organization leading the fight to prevent gun violence, the Brady Campaign, with its dedicated network of Million Mom March Chapters, works to enact and enforce sensible gun laws, regulations and public policies. The Brady Campaign is devoted to creating an America free from gun violence, where all Americans are safe at home, at school, at work, and in our communities.

Visit the Brady Campaign website at For continuing insight and comment on the gun issue, read Paul Helmke's blog at

Contact: Peter Hamm, 202-898-0792

SOURCE Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence