TFB Refresher: Packing Firearms In National Parks

    Firearms In National Parks

    About ten years ago, a law was passed that clarified the federal government’s stance on firearms in National Parks. Since we are wading through the heart of summer here in America, TFB thought it would be a good idea to revisit the topic of possessing/carrying firearms in National Parks before you jump in the station wagon and head for Jellystone. As a reminder, information posted here at TFB should be supplemented with the actual rules and regulation on firearms in National Parks before making any final decisions. I’ve included NPS rules and regulations below.

    In general, as long as you have the ability to possess and/or carry a firearm in the state where the National Park is located, you are allowed to do so in the park. This does not apply to NPS buildings and facilities, so you may want to secure your piece before you use the restroom or check out those fossils. And unlike some National Forests, there doesn’t appear to be any target practice allowed in the NPS system. So outside of limited hunting situations, there is no discharging of firearms in NPS units.

    When in doubt, call ahead and clarify any firearms In National Parks questions before you leave home.  Carrying at the Zoo, on the other hand, is a whole different topic all together.

    Be safe and have fun.

    Above – Photo/Webpage credit: National Park Service

    Possession of Firearms in National Park Units

    In areas administered by the National Park Service, an individual can possess a firearm if that individual is not otherwise prohibited by law from possessing the firearm and if the possession of the firearm complies with the laws of the state where the park area is located. 54 U.S.C. 104906. It is the responsibility of visitors to understand and comply with all applicable Federal, state and local firearms laws and regulations, including laws authorizing or prohibiting concealed carry, before entering a national park. Some parks are located in more than one state or locality which means that the applicable laws may change depending upon where you are located within a park area. If a park is located in a jurisdiction where the applicable state and local laws grant reciprocity to non-resident firearm owners, then consistent with the applicable law, the park will equally recognize the reciprocity. For information on state and local laws, please contact the state and locality where the park is located.

    Possession of Firearms in Federal Facilities

    Unless expressly authorized, Federal law prohibits the possession of a firearm or other dangerous weapon in NPS facilities. These buildings include, but are not limited to, government offices, visitor centers, ranger stations, fee collection buildings, and maintenance facilities. 18 U.S.C. 930.

    Use of Firearms

    Unless authorized, the use or discharge of a firearm within a park area is prohibited. 36 CFR 2.4(b) and 13.30(c). In parks where hunting is specifically mandated or authorized by federal statute, firearms may be used to hunt in accordance with NPS regulations and state laws. 36 CFR 2.2.

    Visitors should not consider firearms as protection from wildlife.

    Firearms In National Parks – The Law

    Protecting the Right of Individuals To Bear arms in Units of the National Park System and the National Wildlife Refuge System—The Secretary of the Interior shall not promulgate or enforce any regulation that prohibits an individual from possessing a firearm including an assembled or functional firearm in any unit of the National Park System or the National Wildlife Refuge System if—(1) the individual is not otherwise prohibited by law from possessing the firearm; and (2) the possession of the firearm is in compliance with the law of the State in which the unit of the National Park System or the National Wildlife Refuge System is located.

    Quick Guide

    Wait, what?

    Can I Bring a Gun to Yellowstone?

    Yes, you can carry a gun in Yellowstone. But it’s illegal to fire it – even in self defense. And once you exit Yellowstone, you could be in one of three states, so it’s important to know the law.


    Editor In Chief- TFB
    LE – Silencers – Science
    [email protected]