The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has announced that new rules allowing the possession of firearms on National Wildlife Refuges and National Parks will take effect on Feb. 22, 2010.
"After this date (Feb. 22, 2010), the law allows an individual to lawfully possess a firearm within the boundaries of a national wildlife refuge in accordance with federal, state and local firearms laws," stated the FWS in a press release. "Visitors will be allowed to possess firearms on National Wildlife Refuges provided they comply with applicable provisions of federal, state and local law."
The new rule results from an amendment to the Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights Act of 2009, allowing people to carry loaded firearms in national parks and wildlife refuges.
Persons with state-issued firearms "carry" permits will be allowed to carry firearms on refuges as long as they do so in compliance with the laws of the state that issued the permit.
According to the FWS, the new law will apply to all 551 units of the National Wildlife Refuge System, as well as the National Monuments and the 392 units of the National Park System.
The new law affects only the possession of firearms, not the use of firearms. "The law does not allow visitors to fire or discharge the firearms in any way, brandish the weapon in the view of others, or any other use of the firearm," stated the FWS.
Possession of firearms will still be prohibited in federally-operated visitor centers, administrative office buildings, maintenance offices and workshops, field and backcountry offices, ranger stations and fee collection stations.