Commentary: Locked and loaded in our national parks

As you traipse through California's national parks armed with only a camera or binoculars, don't be shocked to run across a fellow visitor packing heat.

Up until Monday, firearms were basically banned from most national parks. Now, each state's gun laws extend inside national parks within its borders. In California, that means it is perfectly legal to carry an unloaded firearm as long as it's plainly visible, and for those with concealed weapon permits to tote them, loaded or unloaded.

It is a saddening change. It raises the risk of violence or accidents in places that are valued for their tranquillity. But now that it's the law of the land, the National Park Service needs to put safety first and make sure the public is fully informed.

The gun rights lobby spent years pushing for the looser law, resorting to the old canard that more guns equal safer people. The Obama administration, to its discredit, went along as the price for passing credit card reform.

To read the complete editorial, visit www.sacbee.com.