(Albany, NY)- New York State Senator José M. Serrano (D-Manhattan/Bronx) and New York State Assemblymember Steve Englebright (D-E. Setauket) sent a letter last week, to which 30 legislators signed on, to United States Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, to express disappointment in the U.S. House of Representatives' recent passing of the "Sportsmen's Heritage Act" (H.R. 4089), which includes language that could allow much of the National Park System to be open to hunting and recreational shooting.
The letter asks that if the Senate decides to take up the House's bill, they "work to make sure that the entire National Park System is excluded from any final legislation."
"Parks have always provided safe recreational opportunities for families throughout our state, and as such they are no place for firearms," said Senator Serrano. "The Sportsmen’s Heritage Act will deeply affect the quality of life of the thousands of residents and tourists who rely on our parks for affordable outdoor activities. Parks are a proven economic engine, and we must ensure that visitors continue to feel safe and protected in these treasured spaces."
"New York State's parks, be they local, State, or National, are environmental and heritage treasures," Assemblyman Steve Englebright said, "they are places of peaceful serenity and quiet contemplation for millions of our citizens. Unfortunately, there are those in our Congress that would seek to open these parks to various individuals carrying firearms, which would represent a great threat not only to the wildlife and employees of the parks, but to the visitors seeking relaxing recreation.”
The Sportsmen’s Heritage Act follows Congressional approval from 2009 which allows gun owners to bring firearms into national parks and wildlife refuges as long as they are permitted by the laws of the state in which the park is located. Serrano and Englebright have authored legislation (A4619/S7441) to counteract that policy. The bill would prohibit the possession of concealed firearms in any national park or national wildlife refuge system located within New York State.