Story last updated at 12/17/2008 - 3:45 pm
Anchorage - Gov. Sarah Palin applauded the decision by the U.S. Department of the Interior that will allow an individual to carry a concealed weapon in national parks and wildlife refuges. The new rule only applies if the individual is authorized to carry a concealed weapon under state law in the state in which the national park or refuge is located.
"The possession and use of firearms is especially critical to Alaskans," Palin said. "We will continue to protect gun rights. The ability to carry a firearm can define a life or death situation, especially for protection against surprise encounters with wildlife, mainly bears. I appreciate the Interior Department recognizing this is a step in the right direction."
Within Alaska, most of the national parks and refuge areas are open to various forms of hunting, so possession and use of firearms is already widely allowed under both state and federal law. Currently, firearms are prohibited in Denali National Park, Glacier Bay National Park, Katmai National Park, Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park and Sitka National Historical Park. The new rule will take effect in January.