House follows Senate, allows guns in parks

The Associated PressMay 21, 2009 

— In a stinging defeat for gun-control advocates, Congress voted to allow people to carry loaded guns in national parks and wildlife refuges.

The House approved the measure, 279-147, on Wednesday, one day after the Senate acted.

A total of 105 Democrats in the House joined 174 Republicans in supporting the gun measure, which essentially restores a Bush administration policy that allowed loaded guns in national parks for two months earlier this year.

The vote was a bitter disappointment for gun-control proponents, who watched as a Democratic-controlled Congress handed a victory to gun-rights advocates that they did not achieve under Republican rule. Republicans said the bill merely aligns national parks and wildlife refuges with regulations governing the national forests and property controlled by the Bureau of Land Management.

A majority of Democrats in both the House and Senate opposed the gun measure.

Democratic leaders decided not to remove the gun provision after Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., was able to insert it into a popular bill imposing new restrictions on credit card companies. Lawmakers and aides said there was not enough time to send the bill to a House-Senate conference committee -- where it could be removed without a vote -- and still get it to President Barack Obama by Memorial Day as he has requested.

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