Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, Guns against Water Bottlesby Karl W Hoffman on Sep. 17, 2010, under Border Issues, Uncategorized
Fed’s say it ‘s OK to carry firearms (even concealed is now permitted) on the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge and militant groups are making the most of it. A little known bill took affect last February placing firearm laws on all National Parks, Monuments and Refuges, in the hands of the states they are in. US Citizens will now be able to protect them selves on federal land along the Border. Drug runners and people smugglers will not be the only ones to have guns on Federal Land. In the past, several presidents have tried to ban firearms from all federal land. Former President Clinton banned guns from many National Monuments. This new law keeps future administrations from passing national gun laws blanketing all federal lands and puts the power back in the hands of the states. This was a huge win for the National Rifle Association.
National Park, but BANWR has not yet updated their website to the new regulations. Tumacacori National Historic Park is one facility that has circumvented the new law. The visitor center through which all visitors to the park must pass to access other areas and facilities of the park is the only public entrance, and clearly marked with a sign indicating that firearms are prohibited. The exception to the “firearms prohibited” rule are those areas of the park that are accessible only via the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail.
BANWR Law Enforcement Officers are concerned about growing friction between No More Deaths and the Samaritans Humanitarian Organizations, who continue to put out water bottles to aid illegal activity, and patrolling militia groups claiming to protect our borders from illegal activity. Several clashes have already occurred. Adding to the mix is the start of hunting season and unless you have a valid hunting license, It is still illegal to discharge a firearm on BANWR. So shooting up illegal water bottles is illegal.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces Firearms Rule Change for Possession in National Wildlife Refuges
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that effective February 22, 2010, the rules governing possession of firearms on National Wildlife Refuges will change as a result of legislation enacted by Congress. After this date, the law allows an individual to lawfully possess a firearm within the boundaries of a National Wildlife Refuge in accordance with federal, state and local firearms laws.
As directed by this new law, the Service will look to the laws of the state and locality in which the refuge or refuge unit is located to govern possession of firearms on the refuge. Visitors will be allowed to possess firearms on National Wildlife Refuges provided they comply with applicable provisions of federal, state and local law. Persons with so-called firearm “carry” permits will be able to possess firearms on a refuge in accordance with the provisions of the state issued permit. The new law applies to all 551 units of the National Wildlife Refuge System, as well as the National Monuments and the 392 units of the National Park System.
While the law will change the application of rules regarding possession of firearms, it has no impact on the authorized uses of firearms on National Wildlife Refuges. The law does not allow visitors to fire or discharge the firearms in any way, brandish the weapon in the view of others, or any other use of the firearm. Enforcement of regulations concerning firearms use remains under the purview of the Department of the Interior.
While possession on a refuge may generally be allowed under state law, possession of firearms will remain prohibited in Federal facilities. Examples include: visitor centers, refuge administrative office buildings, refuge maintenance offices and workshops, field and backcountry offices, ranger stations and fee collection stations.
Refuge visitors wishing to possess firearms on any unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System should carefully read and understand the laws of the state in which the refuge they plan to visit is located – as well as applicable local and county laws and ordinances that derive from that respective state’s law. The laws of the states in which they reside, or from which they may have received firearms permits, do not apply when they are away from those states, although some states offer reciprocity and allow possession based on another state’s permits.
Hunting, trapping and fishing are considered to be a legitimate, traditional recreational and wildlife management use of renewable natural resources on refuges. However, this new law does not change or expand hunting opportunities on national wildlife refuges or exempt hunters from state or federal hunting regulations.
Each person who hunts on a National Wildlife Refuge must have the required state license(s) required by the refuge, as well as any permits and/or user fees. The National Wildlife Refuge System Act of 1966, other laws and the Fish and Wildlife Service’s policy permit hunting on a refuge when it is compatible with the purposes for which the refuge was established and acquired. For additional information, go to: http://www.fws.gov/refuges/hunting/.
The law does not differentiate between concealed handguns under state permit and long guns (rifles, shotguns, muzzleloaders) and it applies to all firearms, which are defined as a weapon designed to fire a projectile by the use of an explosive charge. All Federal firearms statutes remain unchanged.
Nearly 40 million people visit National Wildlife Refuges each year, generating almost $1.7 billion in sales for regional economies. In additional to wildlife observation, many refuges provide rich opportunities for hiking, canoeing, hunting and fishing. To learn more about visiting a National Wildlife Refuge go to: http://www.fws.gov/refuges/visitors/.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.
Just a little background information on water bottles.
No More Deaths has developed a very sophisticated system of high tech data collection. Gallon water jugs are put along migrant paths close to the border and marked with their own coded GPS coordinates. Volunteer groups farther north pick up empty water bottles and record the GPS coordinates of where the water bottles where found, along with the location where they were first set out, this comparative data is all entered into a custom computer-mapping program. There is now a very up to date record of major migrant traffic routes and collaborated with detailed field reports that are turned in at the end of each day by volunteer patrols. This should explain the adamancy for putting out literally tens of thousands of one-gallon water jugs and then refilling the ones picked up and putting them out again until they don’t come back. No More Deaths is fully aware that the water they put out along the border region, is not just helping illegal migrants at the mercy of the cartels, but also available to criminals coming here for illicit activities, smugglers and drug runners. Controlling the water on the desert smuggling routs gives these two groups a great deal of power over illegal activity.
Karl W Hoffman
Documentary Film Producer
Multimedia Reporter for The Tucson Citizen
P.O. Box 759
Arivaca, Arizona 85701-0759
For information on photography exhibits and prints, lectures, interviews, photo usage, border tours and to order the documentary on DVD and view Living on the Border documentary trailer or for more information please visit: www.livingontheborder.com