New Firearms Law Takes Effect Monday

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Date: February 19, 2010
Contact: Greg Shine, 360-816-6231

New Firearms Law Takes Effect Monday - National parks now subject to state and local firearms laws

February 18, 2010 – A change in federal law effective February 22, 2010 allows people who can legally possess firearms under federal, state, and local laws to possess those firearms in units of the national park system, including Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. The new law (Sec. 512 of P.L. 111-24) was passed by Congress and signed last May by the President.

The new federal law makes possession of firearms in national parks also subject to the firearms laws of the state and communities where the parks are located.

“We have been working closely with local, state, and federal officials to ensure that we clearly understand the provisions of the laws that will now apply to our visitors when they are in the park,” said  Superintendent Tracy Fortmann. "We encourage every visitor who may wish to bring firearms to this or any other unit of the national park system to do their research ahead of time and ensure that they are aware of and abide by the laws that apply.  Our goal is to provide safe, enjoyable park visits for everyone, and to preserve this very special place for people today and future generations.”

The new federal law has no effect on existing laws and regulations regarding the use of firearms in national parks or hunting. Hunting still is not allowed in the park.  Federal law continues to prohibit firearms in certain facilities, such as park visitor centers, offices, or maintenance buildings; at Fort Vancouver, these facilities include the Visitor Center, park administration and maintenance buildings, the interior and buildings of the reconstructed stockade, and the McLoughlin and Barclay houses in Oregon City, OR. These facilities are posted with appropriate notices at public entrances.

National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis said, “We will administer this law as we do all others – fairly.  For nearly 100 years, the mission of the National Park Service has been to protect and preserve the parks and to help all visitors enjoy them. The parks belong to all Americans, and our commitment to the American people is to ensure the safety of our visitors and the special places that have been entrusted to our care.” 

For more information about firearms laws that apply to Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, please visit the Washington State Legislature Firearms and Dangerous Weapons webpage at or the Oregon For Oregon State: Oregon State Legislature Offenses Against Public Order; Firearms and Other Weapons webpage at  For more information about Fort Vancouver National Historic Site visit

Sec. 512 of P.L. 111-24, an amendment to the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act of 2009, also directs the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to follow state and local firearms laws in national wildlife refuges.

Last updated: February 28, 2015

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