A new federal law allows firearms in national parks and wildlife refuges, including concealed guns, and makes state law applicable within the park or refuge.

In Michigan, that means a person with a concealed weapons permit can have a hidden gun, and that an openly displayed firearm also is legal. The change doesn’t apply to national forests, which already follow state laws.

Tim Colyer, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore’s chief ranger, said the new law will “change the way we’ve historically done things in the National Park Service.

“As a general rule, firearms have always been prohibited,” he said. “Now, Pictured Rocks has always been a little unique in that we’re one of 18 parks in the service that has always allowed hunting. So I don’t think it will affect us as much as it would someone like Yellowstone.”

Michigan has five national parks, Isle Royale and Keweenaw National Parks, Pictured Rocks and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and the still unfinished North Country Scenic Trail. There are also eight national wildlife refuges and management areas: Detroit River, Harbor Island, Huron, Kirtlands Warbler, Michigan Wetland, Michigan Islands, Seney and Shiawassee.

Buildings within parks and refugees aren’t covered because they are federal facilities, said Colyer and Larry Johnson, the chief ranger of Sleeping Bear Dunes.

“We’ll be posting information on the buildings and federal facilities where firearms will not be allowed,” Johnson said.

“The state laws that will be in effect don’t trump the federal law that prohibits firearms in federal facilities,” including visitor centers and other buildings, he said.

Read the rest of Josh Garvey’s article at the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

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