Camping in a National Park? Don’t be surprised to see your neighbor carrying a gun.

On February 22, a new law took effect that applied state firearms laws to national parks and wildlife refuges across America.

The implementation of the new law, which the National Park Service (NPS) has planned for since passage of H.R. 627 last May, has so far been without major problems. NPS management reports that it has worked with the 493 individual parks, promoting a consistent message on several key points:

Under the new law, every park is subject to all the firearms laws of the state (or states) where the park is located.

Park visitors must know and obey state laws, including knowing which state laws apply in parks (such as Yellowstone) that cross state boundaries. (For information on state laws, go to http://www.nraila.org/gunlaws/.)

The new law affects firearms possession, not use. Laws regarding hunting, poaching, target shooting or any unlawful discharge remain unchanged.

It will remain unlawful to carry in certain locations, under a separate law that prohibits possession of any firearm in a “federal facility.”

In common english, you can now carry a gun in a National Park┬ájust┬álike you have been able to carry in a National Forest subject to the laws of the state where you are located. That means in a National Park you can carry concealed weapons if that is legal in that state. For example, in California, it is general illegal to carry a concealed weapon but you can carry a weapon in a holster for all to see – the same rule would be in effect for Yosemite National Park.

If you check the NPS website for the particular park you are going to visit, you can read their rule which will refer you to state law. Two important things; 1.)You have to know the state laws. The park will not post them or interpret them and 2.) Make sure you know what a federal facility is. The park will have those posted.