Firearms in National Parks
The law governing possession of firearms inside a national park changed on February 22, 2010.
Here you will find the 2021 Superintendent’s Compendium Of Designations, Closures, Permit Requirements and Other Restrictions Imposed Under Discretionary Authority. Approved by David Moore, Superintendent of Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine.
In accordance with regulations and the delegated authority provided in Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations (“36 CFR”), Chapter 1, Parts 1-7, authorized by Title 16 United States Code, Section 3, the following provisions apply to all lands and waters administered by the National Park Service, within the boundaries of Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine. Unless otherwise stated, these regulatory provisions apply in addition to the requirements contained in 36 CFR, Chapter 1, Parts 1-7.
36 CFR §1.5 — VISITING HOURS, PUBLIC USE LIMITS. CLOSURES. AND AREA DESIGNATIONS FOR SPECIFIC USE OR ACTIVITIES
(a)(1) The following visiting hours, public use limits, and closures are established:
Public Use Limits:
The above public use limits are based upon a determination that such limits are necessary for the maintenance of public health and safety and the protection of natural and cultural resources.
The above closures are based upon a determination that such closures are necessary for the maintenance of public health and safety, the protection of environmental values, the protection of natural and cultural resources, the implementation of management responsibilities, the equitable allocation and use of facilities and the avoidance of conflict among visitor use activities.
(a)(2) The following areas are designated for a specific use or activity and/or the following conditions or restrictions are imposed on a specific use or activity:
The following types of filming activities may occur in areas open to the public without a permit and without advance notice to the NPS:
• Outdoor filming activities involving five persons or less and equipment that will be carried at all times, except for small tripods used to hold cameras.
The organizer of any other type of filming activity must provide written notice to the Superintendent at least 10 days prior to the start of the proposed activity. Based upon the information provided, the Superintendent may require the organizer to apply for and obtain a permit if necessary, to:
• maintain public health and safety;
• protect environmental or scenic values;
• protect natural or cultural resources;
• allow for equitable allocation and use of facilities; or
• avoid conflict among visitor use activities.
If the Superintendent determines that the terms and conditions of a permit could not mitigate the concerns identified above in an acceptable manner, the Superintendent may deny a filming request without issuing a permit. The Superintendent will provide the basis for denial in writing upon request.
The NPS will consider requests and process permit applications in a timely manner. Processing times will vary depending on the complexity of the proposed activity. If the organizer provides the required 10 day advance notice to the NPS and has not received a written response from the NPS that a permit is required prior to the first day of production, the proposed filming activities may occur without a permit.
The following are prohibited:
(1) Engaging in a filming activity without providing advance notice to the Superintendent when required.
(2) Engaging in a filming activity without a permit if [the activity takes place in areas managed as wilderness or if] the Superintendent has notified the organizer in writing that a permit is required.
(3) Violating a term and condition of a permit issued under this action.
Violating a term or condition of a permit issued under to this action may also result in the suspension and revocation of the permit by the Superintendent.
The above designations are based upon a determination that such conditions are necessary for the maintenance of public health and safety, protection of environmental values, protection of natural or cultural resources and the equitable allocation and use of facilities.
Mask Wearing Requirements:
Individuals over the age of two years must wear masks, except when actively eating or drinking, in the following locations:
1. All common areas and shared workspaces in buildings owned, rented or leased by the National Park Service, including, but not limited to, park visitor centers, administrative offices, lodges, gift shops and restaurants.
2. The following outdoor areas, when others are present, where the superintendent has determined that physical distancing (staying at least six feet apart) cannot reasonably be maintained:
• Outdoor areas adjacent (within 100’) of Visitor Center
• Main Parking lot, Overflow Parking Lot, Picnic Area
• Within 100’ of Boat Dock, Water Battery, Whetstone Point, Orpheus Statue, Armistead Statue, Fort McHenry NM&HS entrance sign (Boat Dock, Main Road, and Main Gate), Main Gate
• Historic Zone (fee area), West Memorial Groves, East Memorial Grove
Masks must cover the nose and mouth and fit snugly around the nose and chin with no large gaps around the sides of the face. Masks not designed to be protective, masks with ventilation valves, and face shields do not meet the requirement.
As stated in E.O. 13991, it is the policy of the Administration to halt the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID–19) by relying on the best available data and science-based public health measures. Such measures include wearing masks when around others, physical distancing, and other related precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
(a)(3) The following restrictions, limits, closures, designations, conditions, or visiting hour restrictions imposed under §§(a)(1) or (2) have been terminated:
Activities requiring a permit are listed above under Public Use Limits and throughout this document under the specific 36 CFR Section that authorizes or requires the issuance of a permit.
Applications for Special Use permits can be obtained by contacting the Permit Office:
Fort McHenry NM&HS
c/o: Permit Office
2400 East Fort Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21230
36 CFR §2.1 — PRESERVATION OF NATURAL, CULTURAL AND ARCHEOLOGICAL RESOURCES
(a)(4) Using or possessing wood gathered from within the park area is prohibited.
(a)(5) Walking on, climbing, entering, ascending, descending, or traversing an archaeological or cultural resource, monument, or statue is prohibited except in designated areas.
(a)(7) Possessing or using a mineral or metal detector, magnetometer, side scan sonar, other metal detecting device, or sub-bottom profiler is prohibited.
Under §2.1(a), collecting natural materials from the park is generally prohibited. However, pursuant to §2.1(c), the following fruits, nuts, berries or unoccupied seashells may be gathered by hand for personal use or consumption, in accordance with the noted size, quantity, collection sites and/or possession and consumption restrictions:
(a)(1) The taking of wildlife is prohibited.
(b) Hunting and trapping is prohibited.
(d) Transporting wildlife through the park is prohibited
36 CFR §2.3 — FISHING
(a) Fishing is not allowed within the boundaries of the park.
36 CFR §2.4 — WEAPONS, TRAPS, AND NETS
Pursuant to 18 USC § 930, firearms are prohibited in federal facilities. Federal facilities are marked with signs at public entrances.
Pursuant to 54 USC 104906, park visitors may carry firearms in the Park if they are otherwise in compliance with federal, state, and local laws.
Traps and nets are prohibited except as permitted by the Superintendent or his/her designee.
36 CFR §2.5 — RESEARCH SPECIMENS
Taking plants, fish, wildlife, rocks or minerals is prohibited except in accordance with 36 CFR chapter 1 or the terms and conditions of a specimen collection permit pursuant to § 2.5(a).
36 CFR §2.10 — CAMPING and FOOD STORAGE
(a) Camping is not allowed within the boundaries of the park.
36 CFR §2.11 — PICNICKING
As listed in 36 CFR § 1.5 of this document, picnicking is prohibited within the Historic Zone (designated on the attached map) of the park.
36 CFR §2.12 — AUDIO DISTURBANCES
Under § 2.12 (a) the following are prohibited:
(a)(1) The lighting or maintaining of fires is prohibited, except when authorized by the Superintendent.
(a)(2) The use of stoves or lanterns is prohibited, except when authorized by the Superintendent.
36 CFR §2.14 — SANITATION and REFUSE
(a)(2) Using park refuse receptacles or facilities for dumping household, commercial or industrial refuse is prohibited.
(b) Conditions for the disposal, containerization, or carryout of human body waste have been established as follows:
(a)(1) Possessing pets in public buildings, public transportation vehicles, swimming beaches, and the following structures and/or areas is prohibited.
(a)(5) Pet excrement must be disposed of in accordance with the following conditions:
(e) Pets may be kept by park residents under the following conditions:
(b) The use of horses or pack animals is prohibited except with written permission from the Superintendent. No trails, routes, or areas are designated for their use.36 CFR §2.17 — AIRCRAFT and AIR DELIVERY
(c)(1) The removal of a downed aircraft, components, or parts thereof is subject to procedures established by the Superintendent through written authorization.
36 CFR §2.18 — SNOWMOBILES
(c) The use of snowmobiles is prohibited.36 CFR §2.19 — WINTER ACTIVITIES
(a) Skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, sledding, innertubing, tobogganing, and similar winter sports are prohibited on park roads and in parking areas open to motor vehicle traffic.36 CFR §2.20 — SKATING, SKATEBOARDS and SIMILAR DEVICES
(b) The towing of persons on skis, sleds, or other sliding devices by motor vehicle or snowmobile is prohibited.
Using roller skates, skateboards, roller skis, coasting vehicles, or similar devices is prohibited. Non-motorized scooters are permitted on administrative roads, sidewalks and or gravel areas except as noted under closed areas. Limitations are necessary for visitor safety along roadways and to avoid conflicts with other park users.
(a) The following portions of the park, or all or portions of buildings, structures or facilities are closed to smoking as noted:
These restrictions are consistent with federal law and have been determined to protect park resources, reduce the risk of fire, and prevent conflicts among visitor use activities.
36 CFR §2.22 — PROPERTY
(a)(2) Leaving property unattended for longer than 24 hours is prohibited, except with the permission of the Superintendent.
36 CFR §2.23 — RECREATION FEES
(b) Recreation fees, and/or a permit, in accordance with 36 CFR part 71, are established for the following entrance fee areas, and/or for the use of the following specialized sites, facilities, equipment or services, or for participation in the following group activity, recreation events or specialized recreation uses:
Entrance Fee Areas:
Daily Site Use Fee Areas:
(a)(3)(i) The following public use areas, portions of public use areas, and/or public facilities within the park are closed to consumption of alcoholic beverages, and/or to the possession of a bottle, can or other receptacle containing an alcoholic beverage that is open, or has been opened, or whose seal has been broken or the contents of which have been partially removed:
36 CFR §2.37 — NONCOMMERCIAL SOLICITING
Soliciting or demanding gifts, money, goods or services is prohibited except pursuant to the terms and conditions or a permit that has been issued under §2.50, §2.51, or §2.52.
36 CFR §2.38 — EXPLOSIVES
(b) Fireworks, firecrackers, and sparklers may be possessed and/or used in the following areas, under the conditions noted:
(a) Sports events, pageants, regattas, public spectator attractions, entertainments, ceremonies, and similar events are allowed, provided there is a meaningful association between the park area and the events, and the observance contributes to visitor understanding of the significance of the park area, and a permit therefor has been issued by the Superintendent.
36 CFR §2.51 -- DEMONSTRATIONS
(b) Demonstrations of more than 25 people are allowed within designated park areas when the Superintendent has issued a permit for the activity.
(c)(2) The following locations are designated as available for demonstrations:
(c) The sale or distribution of printed matter by 25 people or less is allowed within the park areas designated as available under §2.51(c)(2) (see above). The sale or distribution of printed matter by more than 25 persons is allowed within designated park areas when the Superintendent has issued a permit.
No access to the park via water vessel is allowed except pursuant to the terms and conditions of a permit.
36 CFR 0.21 — SWIMMING AND BATHING
(a)(2) No access to the water for swimming, bathing, or other aquatic recreation is allowed from the park.
36 CFR §4.2 — STATE LAW APPLICABLE
36 CFR §4.21 — SPEED LIMITS
(b) The following speed limits are established for the routes/roads indicated
(a) The use of a bicycle/e-bikes is permitted on park roads and in parking areas that are otherwise open for motor vehicle use by the general public.
36 CFR §4.31 — HITCHHIKING
Hitchhiking or soliciting transportation is prohibited.
36 CFR q5.1 - ADVERTISEMENTS
Commercial notices or advertisements shall not be displayed, posted, or distributed on federally owned or controlled lands within a park area unless prior written permission has been given by the Superintendent.
36 CFR §5.3 — BUSINESS OPERATIONS
Engaging in or soliciting any business in park areas requires a permit, contract or other written agreement with the United States, or must be specifically authorized under special regulations.
36 CFR §5.5 - COMMERCIAL PHOTOGRAPHY/FILMING
(a) Before any motion picture, television production, or sound track may be made within the park by any person other than bona fide newsreel or news television personnel, written permission must first be obtained from the Superintendent.(b) Taking photographs of vehicles, models, or other articles of commerce for the purpose of commercial advertising requires a written permit from the Superintendent.
36 CFR §5.6 - COMMERCIAL VEHICLES
(b) & (c) Using commercial vehicles on government roads within park areas when such use is in no way connected with the operation of the park is generally prohibited, and requires permission or a permit issued by the Superintendent.
Last updated: May 5, 2021