For some time, almost one year, to be exact, I have been seeking changes to streamline rules regarding the carry and transport of firearms in national parks and fish and wildlife refuges.  Those rules were issued on December 5, 2008, in a final rule from the U.S. Department of the Interior.  This rule change will permit law abiding gun owners to transport and carry concealed firearms in federal parks and wildlife refuges in accordance with the firearms laws of the host state.  The final rule, which was expected to be published on Monday, December 8, does not apply to shotguns and rifles. 

If this rule stands, law abiding gun owners will be subject to a more sensible and simplified framework for governing the possession of concealed firearms on federal public lands.  I commend Secretary Kempthorne and the Department for their hard work on this matter, particularly with regard to improvements made since the proposed rule was issued on April 30.  I led a bipartisan group of 50 Senators who wrote to Secretary Kempthorne last December 14, proposing such changes.  I’m glad to see that the voices of so many sportsmen and women have been heard on this subject, and that we were able to help make changes to existing regulations that improve the process for everyone.