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Man wounded in Rocky Mountain National Park after gun discharges in his backpack

Emerald Lake in RMNP
Posted at 10:39 AM, Jul 28, 2020

ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK — A 70-year-old man suffered a gunshot wound at Rocky Mountain National Park when a handgun in his backpack accidentally discharged, officials said.

Park rangers had responded to the incident on July 19 near Emerald Lake. The man was hiking in the area when he set his backpack on a rock. When he set the backpack down, a handgun inside the backpack discharged, striking the man in his leg, park officials said.

Search and rescue crews took the man to a meadow in the Glacier Basin campground, where he was flown to Medical Center of the Rockies for treatment.

Concealed carry is allowed in the park, as long as the carrier has a permit consistent with Colorado state law or state reciprocity laws, though firearms are prohibited in certain facilities such as visitor centers, ranger stations and government offices.

Authorities are still investigating the incident and did not say whether the man was legally carrying the weapon.

Park officials emphasized that firearms should not be considered as a protection measure against wildlife. Park visitors should carry bear spray and use other safety precautions.