Gun control activists love to make public parks off-limits to lawful concealed carry whenever and wherever they can. In states like New York and New Jersey, anti-gun Democrats have already declared parks to be “sensitive places” where concealed carry is prohibited, and states from Maryland to Hawaii are hoping to do the same this year.
From a constitutional perspective, banning legally-carried guns from public parks seems to squarely violate the Supreme Court’s edict in Bruen that the Second Amendment protects a fundamental right to bear arms for self-defense in public. From a practical perspective the only thing the prohibition does is put law-abiding citizens at risk of being unable to protect themselves from a violent encounter, but that hasn’t dissuaded legislators from labeling these locations “gun-free zones” every chance they get.
As one father in Yakima, Washington unfortunately had the chance to prove this past weekend, however, the right to carry is inherently important; not only for our own safety, but for the safety of others as well.
A man shot and killed another man who threatened his child on Sunday afternoon at the Randall dog park in Yakima, police said.
Multiple people called 911 around 2:30 p.m. to report a man was acting erratically at the dog park at 1399 S. 48th Ave., according to a Yakima Police Department news release.
The man, later identified as Daniel Ortega, 22, of Yakima, was interacting with another man and his child at the park, and “attempted to endanger the life of the small child with his words and actions,” the police news release said.
The father told Ortega to leave his family alone, and attempted to leave the park, the release said. When his attempts to de-escalate the incident failed, the 28-year-old Yakima man “discharged his legally owned firearm in defense of himself and his child,” the release said.
According to police and eyewitness accounts, Ortega was the initial aggressor in the encounter, and the concealed carry holder isn’t expected to face charges in the shooting.
Anti-gunners would say that the father never should have had his gun with him in the first place because the presence of that firearm endangered not only himself but everyone around him. In the real world, the ability for that dad to respond with deadly force when all attempts to de-escalate Ortega’s aggression failed likely saved himself and his young child from serious harm.
I’ll admit that I don’t think of dog parks (or parks in general) as particularly dangerous places. But violent crimes don’t just happen where we expect them to take place. They can happen anywhere; in our driveway, our place of business, a busy restaurant, and even public transportation. That’s why the right to carry is so fundamentally important, and why the exhaustive number of “sensitive places” imposed by anti-gun lawmakers is such an egregious infringement on that right. If the gun prohibitionists had their way, this dad would be facing charges today; perhaps not for the act of defending himself and his child, but for doing so with a firearm in a gun-free zone. It’s their preferred policies that are putting people at risk and leaving them vulnerable to attack, and this father’s actions to protect his child are why Second Amendment activists are fighting to undo these “sensitive places” from coast-to-coast.