Under federal legislation passed last February, gun owners can carry their weapons in national parks—as long as they do so in accordance with the state laws in which the park resides. For example, if you have the right to carry a weapon in Washington State, you have the right to carry your gun inside Mount Rainier National Park. Which is just as well. “A Mount Rainier National Park ranger was fatally shot following a New Year’s Day traffic stop,” the AP reports. “The 368-square-mile park in Washington state was closed as dozens of officers searched for the armed gunman over snowy and rugged terrain.” As for visitors already in the park . . .
[Pierce County Sheriff’s spokesman Ed ] Troyer said there were about 100 people hunkered down in lodges and cabins on the mountain. They were told to stay put because they could be in the line of fire. Armored vehicles were being brought in to ferry them safely out of the park.
Imagine you’re one of those “hunkered down” visitors waiting for armored evac. Unarmed. Oh, and through the miracle of modern cell phone technology, you know this about gunman Benjamin Colton Barnes [via CBS] . . .
A parks spokesman said Barnes was an Iraq war veteran, and the mother of his child had alleged he suffered from post-traumatic stress following his deployments.
Barnes was involved in a custody dispute in Tacoma in July 2011, during which the toddler’s mother sought a temporary restraining order against him, according to court documents. In an affidavit, the woman wrote that Barnes was suicidal and possibly suffered from PTSD after deploying to Iraq in 2007-2008. She said he gets easily irritated, angry and depressed and keeps an arsenal of weapons in his home.
Barnes was also a suspect in the early Sunday morning shooting of four people at a house party south of Seattle, police said.
Sgt. Cindi West, King County Sheriff’s spokesperson, said late Sunday that Barnes was connected to an early-morning shooting at a New Year’s house party in Skyway, Wash., south of Seattle that left four people injured, two critically. That incident happened about 3 a.m., and stemmed from an argument over a gun.
Setting aside the usual fatally flawed gun grabbers’ logic (e.g. if Barnes didn’t have a gun no one would need one to protect themselves from the killer), at least you, a member of TTAG’s Armed Intelligentsia, wouldn’t be defenseless. Unless . . .
You found yourself sharing a national park with a trained killer in California, New Jersey, Washington D.C. (Ford’s Theater?), or Illinois, where open carry is prohibited and the chances of an average Joe holding a concealed carry permit are only slightly higher than the odds of getting a date with Miranda Kerr.
Just another reason why we need a national reciprocity concealed carry bill like H.R.822. Or, indeed, H.R.822 itself.
[Update: 125 visitors were evacuated using unarmored vehicles last night. Barnes remains at large. Update 2 [via CBS]: “Police said a body believed to be that of a gunman suspected in the shooting death of a park ranger has been found, but the identity has not yet been confirmed.”]