Why would someone need a gun in a park? Question asked and answered.

by Larry S. Moore

For years, while gun control extremists were busy asking "why would anyone need a gun in a park?," gun rights activists and organizations have urged people to carry while enjoying outdoor recreation.

Consider these recent headlines and ask yourself - which side of the argument is standing on solid ground?

Ohio's John Bryan State Park is a beautiful state park with some wonderful wild features. John Bryan is located just outside the rather liberal enclave of Yellow Springs, Ohio. John Bryan is frequented by many people for a variety of outdoor recreation including camping (the park is perfect for tent camping), shelters and picnics, star gazing, hiking trails and the mountain bike trails. Yellow Springs is a scenic town with lots of shops, quaint restaurants and local history. The Antioch College Glen Helen and the ODNR Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve are two significant natural areas with lots of hiking trails and outdoor education programs. Many citizens in Yellow Springs protest the annual ODNR controlled deer hunt at John Bryan. It is a most quaint and normally tranquil area.

However, this robbery drives home the point that no one is ever safe from attack, no matter how docile and tranquil an area may appear. Campers were attacked in an Ohio state park. Campers were attacked and killed in their tent in Yellowstone by a rampaging bear. The "Yellowstone fugitives" were later captured in a campground.

No doubt these cases are rather rare instances. I've camped in Ohio's state parks, including John Bryan, for many years. I've never felt threatened there. However, since 2004 when I obtained my concealed handgun license, I've exercised my option of carrying for self defense when in state parks. Ohio state parks have been concealed carry-friendly locations. I've discussed concealed carry with rangers in at least a dozen different park locations around the state and have found no objections or problems.

While not an especially violent robbery, it does clearly illustrate the need to always be prepared. Too many people still say, 'I have my concealed handgun license, but I never carry. I'll carry if I ever feel threatened' Robbers don't call ahead so there is warning to "feel threatened." It's our choice to be unarmed victims or prepared citizens.

Outdoor writer and hunter education instructor Larry S. Moore is a long-time volunteer leader for Buckeye Firearms Association and winner of the 2005 USSA Patriot Award and 2007 League of Ohio Sportsmen/Ohio Wildlife Federation Hunter Educator of the Year.

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