While the debate is raging in Augusta over whether to drop the requirement that those who wish to carry concealed weapons in Maine have a permit, little attention is being paid to how this rule change might affect Acadia National Park.
In most situations, federal park rules automatically conform to state regulations. Maine passed a special rule several years ago banning open carry in Acadia even though that practice is permitted everywhere else in the state. As a result, those with properly issued concealed weapons permits can bring guns into the park.
The bill now being debated in Augusta, LD 652, would rescind the state’s permit requirement. But the bill contains no language specific to Acadia National Park. In theory, were the bill passed into law, any park visitor would be free to carry concealed weapons within the park at will – a major policy change.
The bill has nearly 100 co-sponsors. At a hearing on the bill last week, lawmakers heard from dozens on both sides of the issue. The Maine Chiefs of Police Association opposes unfettered concealed carry. The Maine State Police, currently administering Maine’s thousands of permits with applications pending for more, supports the bill.
As the debate proceeds, lawmakers may want to consider the proposed law’s affect on Acadia National Park. The summer tourist season is just weeks away.