Saturday, September 25, 2010

TVA parks last holdout against lawful carry

Last February, a Federal law went into effect that allowed handgun carry in National Parks. This law requires that the National Parks conform to state laws in the state(s) the parks are located in. For example, if the park is located in Tennessee, the park conforms to Tennessee law; if in North Carolina, the park conforms to North Carolina.

The Great Smoky Mountain National Park, near Knoxville, straddles the line, and is in both Tennessee and North Carolina. Now, as a result of the Federal law, and a Tennessee law passed last year, people with Tennessee carry permits (or permits from other states, which are recognized by Tennessee) are able to carry in the Smokies. See related story HERE.

The Tennessee Parks Carry law that the Federal law conforms to allows for carry in state, county, and city parks, provided the local governments do not opt out. (In the case of Knoxville, there is local prohibitive ordinance that dates to 1962 that was grandfathered in last year. I'm guessing it was a Jim Crow law; and the Knoxville City council decided to keep it in effect.)

As it stands now, National Forests (part of the U. S. Department of Agriculture) have long been neutral towards firearms. National Parks are now on board, perhaps reluctantly recognizing the Second Amendment. But the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) still posts their properties against lawful handgun carry. . . .

In an effort to find out if there are any plans at TVA to move towards recognizing the Right to Carry, as enumerated in the Bill of Rights, and affirmed by the Supreme Court, I queried TVA:
Tue, Sep 21, 2010
subject    Handgun Carry Permits  
In February, A law went into effect requiring National Parks to conform to state laws for parks, allowing those with Handgun Carry Permits to carry their defensive firearm in the National Parks.

Does TVA follow the same procedure? If not, is there any plan to? Is this being looked at?


Liston Matthews
I got this reply from TVA:
Fri, Sep 24, 2010
subject    Handgun Carry Permits

Mr. Matthews

Thank you for your inquiry.  TVA is aware of the laws affecting National Parks and firearms.  Currently unless otherwise posted, possession and use of firearms and other weapons is permissible subject to all applicable state regulations on TVA land.  TVA doesn't allow hunting or the possession of firearms at developed recreation areas (campgrounds, picnic and boat launch areas), or power plant and hydro electric dam reservations.  At this time there are no proposed changes to TVA rules involving these developed areas.

Phyllis Wissel
TVA Environmental Information Center
Seeing that there are "no proposed changes" to TVA rules, I asked the following of TVA:
Fri, Sep 24, 2010
subject    Re: Handgun Carry Permits
So, are you saying that as far as TVA is concerned, The Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms for personal defense, as affirmed by the Supreme Court of the United States in the Heller and McDonald cases, does not apply in campgrounds, picnic, and boat launch areas?

Does TVA keep TVA police officers posted at these areas to provide for the security of citizens that your policy disarms?

I would appreciate an answer to both these questions.

Thank you,

Liston Matthews
If and when I get a reply, I will post it here. It seems unconscionable to me that this Government Bureaucracy continues to disarm law-abiding citizens, in view of the recent Supreme Court decisions.
What do you think?

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Disclaimer: The information and ideas presented in this column are provided for informational purposes only. Gun rights, like all other Constitutionally recognized rights, must be exercised responsibly. Firearms, like cars, kitchen knives and life itself all can be dangerous. You should get professional training as part of any plan to use firearms for any purpose. I have made a reasonable, good-faith effort to assure that the content of this column is accurate. I have no control over what you do, and specifically accept no responsibility for anything you do as a result of reading my columns. Any action or lack of action on your part is strictly your responsibility.

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