In 2009, Congress passed and Presiddent Obama signed a law allowing concealed guns to be carried in national parks.

Since 2009, concealed guns are permitted in national parks.

The law passed in 2009 allowing guns to be carried in national parks has lead to the death of a three-year-old at Yellowstone National Park. Reports say the little girl,  Ella Marie Tucker, of Pocatello, Idaho, was vacationing with her family and accidentally shot and killed herself with her father’s loaded and unlocked handgun.

This tragedy comes three years after Congress passed, and President Obama signed, a law that allows visitors to carry concealed weapons in our national parks.

The measure was backed by gun-rights proponents like the National Rifle Association, but opposed by groups representing park rangers and retired National Park Service employees. Opponents–including NYAGV and other gun safety advocates–said the law would heighten risks for visitors and park employees, embolden poachers and complicate prosecution of wildlife crimes.

Leah Gunn Barrett, Executive Director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, commented, “Our national parks should be safe and secure places where our citizens can enjoy nature–not another place where we have to worry about someone packing heat. It’s a fact that the more places guns are permitted, the more people have to worry about intentional or accidental shootings. This tragic incident  proves this point.”

The organization States United to Prevent Gun Violence, of which NYAGV is a member, issued this statement:

SUPGV Calls on Congress to Pass Bill to Prevent Gun Violence, Instead of One to Put More Guns in More Places     

On Saturday, a three-year old girl camping with her family at Yellowstone National Park found a loaded, unlocked handgun and unintentionally shot and killed herself.  Park rangers were called to the Grant Village Campground but efforts to resuscitate the girl failed.  Her family was visiting from Idaho.  This tragedy comes three years after Congress passed, and President Obama signed, a law that allows visitors to carry concealed weapons in our national parks.

 “We send our deepest condolences to the family that is now dealing with this unimaginable loss,” said Barbara Hohlt, board chair of States United to Prevent Gun Violence (SUPGV).  “Isn’t it time Congress passed a law that works to prevent gun violence instead of one that puts more guns in more places? We shouldn’t have to worry about there being loaded guns everywhere we go.”

SUPGV is calling on Congress to pass the comprehensive background check bill that is currently before them.  (S. 649 in the Senate and H.R. 1565 in the House)  Background checks work.  They help keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people.  It has been almost nine months since the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook school in Newtown, CT.  Since that time:

 ·    More than 20,000 people in the United States have been killed with a gun.  (homicides, suicides and unintentional shootings)

 ·    More than 48,000 people have been shot and injured, leaving them with wounds, both physical and emotional, that will take years to heal.

 ·    More than 168,000 people have had their lives threatened and found themselves staring down the barrel of a gun, the victim of an armed robbery or aggravated assault with a firearm.

Enough!  Americans deserve the right to be safe and free from gun violence. It’s time for our elected officials to take action and pass stronger gun laws to protect us all from gun violence.

States United to Prevent Gun Violence (SUPGV) is a national non-profit organization working to decrease gun death and injury and build communities free from the fear and devastation bred by gun violence. An association founded in 1999 by the state gun violence prevention groups themselves, SUPGV’s mission is to support existing state-based gun violence prevention organizations and build new groups. The main goal of SUPGV is to provide an array of services that helps to build organizational capacity at the state level and simultaneously grow the movement.    

                                                                                                 ###