WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Lisa Murkowski today applauded Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne’s ruling allowing firearms on lands administered by the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The ruling came in response to a letter to Secretary Kempthorne signed by 50 Senators – including Senators Murkowski and Stevens.

“I am pleased that Secretary Kempthorne has taken a step toward streamlining gun laws in accordance with state laws,” said Senator Murkowski. “If individual states allow guns on their lands, it makes no sense for the federal government to require them to render their firearm inoperable when they cross into a national park or wildlife refuge.”

"In Alaska, we regard carrying firearms in national parks as not just a right, but sometimes a necessity,” said Senator Stevens. “Secretary Kempthorne is committed to upholding the Second Amendment. I applaud him and the Department of the Interior for ensuring the rights of law-abiding Alaskans are respected by the Federal government."

Under the current law, firearms transported on lands administered by the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service must be rendered inoperable. There are a few exceptions, such as in remote areas of Alaska – but not nearly enough. Under Kempthorne’s ruling people may carry firearms in the same manner as in similar units fo state land. The rule states that firearm possession must comply with all applicable federal and state laws – upholding the people’s right to bear arms, while at the same time respecting state’s rights. The Department of the Interior is accepting public comment on the rule until June 30, 2008.

Senator Murkowski is also cosponsor of S. 2619, legislation which would prohibit the Department of Interior from making any rules banning firearm possession unless they are banned by state law.