This vote was on an amendment by Tom Coburn, R-Okla., that would force the Interior Department to allow people to carry a firearm into national parks and wildlife refuges. The amendment was offered to a bill that would impose restrictions on credit card lending practices.
Coburn said currently, the Interior Department prohibits firearms inside national parks and wildlife refuges, and that if someone has the legal right to carry a firearm in a state, they should be able to carry one whether they are inside a national park or not.
“The whole purpose of this amendment is not a gotcha amendment. It is to say: Does the second amendment mean something? If we are going to limit it, it ought to be us who do it. Do States rights mean anything and should we have bureaucrats limiting individual rights versus the Congress? If it is going to happen, the Congress has to be the body that does it,” Coburn said. “The Protecting Americans from Violent Crime Act of 2009 would ensure State gun laws and citizens’ constitutional rights are honored on Federal lands by prohibiting the Department of Interior from creating or enforcing any regulations prohibiting an individual, not otherwise prohibited by law, from possessing a firearm in national parks and wildlife refuges in compliance with and as permitted by State law.”
Chris Dodd, D-Conn., said he is opposed to the amendment because he doesn’t want to inject a gun rights debate into a bill that is intended to protect consumers from predatory credit card practices.
“I’d hate to see us lose this opportunity to make a difference with credit card reform. I am not anticipating that to be the case, but there is always that risk we run, and I would be remiss if I didn’t raise that concern I have as the manager of the bill,” Dodd said. “Senator Shelby and I have worked very hard to put together a credit card reform bill that we hope enjoys broad bipartisan support. It is a balanced bill that will allow an industry to continue to profit, to move forward, but not at the expense of consumers with unnecessary rate increases or exorbitant fees and the like that we have watched too many Americans face over the last number of years. We make major changes in how credit cards are handled under this bill. I know millions of Americans will benefit from this if we are able to pass it into law.”
By a vote of 67-29, the amendment was adopted. All but one Republican present voted for the amendment. Of Democrats present, 27 voted for the amendment and 27 voted against the amendment (including the most progressive members). The end result is that the measure went forward with language that would force the Interior Department to allow individuals to carry firearms in national parks and wildlife refuges.