Move to ease Federal restrictions on guns in National Parks bogs down in Politics

Fox News has a piece on the election year squabbles here:

WASHINGTON — An election-year dispute over whether to allow loaded guns in national parks is holding up a vote on a massive bill affecting public lands from coast to coast.

Democrats accuse Republicans of trying to score political points by injecting a "wedge" issue like gun rights into a noncontroversial bill.

Republicans counter that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is trying to protect the two leading Democratic candidates for president by shielding them from a politically difficult vote on an issue that many rural voters consider crucial.

Arizona Sen. John McCain, the leading Republican contender for president, is a co-sponsor of the amendment, which would allow gun owners to carry loaded, accessible firearms into national parks and wildlife refuges. Current regulations ban gun owners from carrying easy-to-reach firearms onto lands managed by the National Park Service and Fish and Wildlife Service.

Spokesmen for the two leading Democratic presidential contenders, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, declined repeated requests to comment.

The gun amendment is sponsored by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., a longtime gun-rights advocate who has endorsed McCain. A spokesman for Coburn accused Reid, D-Nev., of bad faith in refusing to allow a vote on the issue, despite an earlier agreement between the two senators. . . .

A majority of Senators have signed legislation asking that people with concealed handgun permits be able to carry their handguns with them in parks within states that recognize those permits so this bill would easily pass if a vote were allowed. I can't imagine that this type of game playing makes Senator Harry Reid a popular guy in Nevada.



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