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Maine Legislature Proposes State Policy for Guns in Parks

The Maine legislature is considering sticking to its own state policy instead of following the new federal rules allowing guns in national parks.

That could make Maine the first state to specifically cut against the new federal law, which allows licensed gun owners to take firearms into national parks and wildlife refuges.

According to the Associated Press, no states have laws on the books that supersede the new national policy. 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.

As previously discussed, the new law allows firearms in national parks as long as they obey the gun laws of the state in which the park is located.

Firearms will be allowed in 373 of the 392 national parks. For parks located in more than one state, such as the Appalachian Trail which crosses 14 states, visitors will need to know which laws apply.

The new federal law also applies to 551 national wildlife refuges. It also prohibits firing weapons unless in self-defense.

However, in most states, it remains illegal to kill animals and most rangers are unarmed.

The law passed by Congress in May reverses almost 100 years of National Park Service policy that generally allowed visitors to transport unloaded, disassembled weapons in the trunks of their cars.

The Maine bill would outlaw guns in Acadia National Park and the St. Croix Island International Historic Site.

So far, the Maine Senate public safety committee is split on the state proposal banning guns. They have agreed to negotiate to remove from the bill a provision that would outlaw weapons along the Appalachian Trail, which borders many popular hunting areas.

Hunting is allowed in most state parks from September to May, but firearms are prohibited other times except where hunting is legal for a limited time.