Parks are places that most folks wouldn’t think of as being a battleground. I don’t mean a literal one, generally, but they are battlegrounds. I’ve seen plenty of battles fought over the right to keep and bear arms in various parks throughout the nation.
However, a Delaware judge just smacked down the state on its efforts to restrict guns in state parks.
DOVER, Del. (AP) – A Delaware judge on Thursday struck down some regulations on carrying guns in state parks and on state forest land, saying they are unconstitutional.
The ruling comes in a lawsuit by the Delaware State Sportsmen’s Association and other gun rights advocates challenging firearms regulations developed by the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, and the state Department of Agriculture.
The two agencies began developing the regulations after the Delaware Supreme Court ruled last year that a ban on non-hunting firearms in state parks and forests was unconstitutional.
Among other things, the regulations prohibit people from openly carrying firearms in certain designated “sensitive” areas of state parks and forests, such as offices and visitor centers, while exempting people with valid concealed carry permits from that prohibition.
On Thursday, Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Clark ruled that some of the regulations go too far, violating both the federal and state constitutions.
Clark sided with the plaintiffs in ruling that officials cannot prohibit visitors from carrying guns in camping areas in parks and lodges on forest land. He noted that the Supreme Court specifically held that a person has a constitutional right to have a firearm while camping overnight in a state park.
“The effect of including camp sites within sensitive areas forces state park and forest visitors to give up their right to self-defense in order to camp overnight in those areas,” Clark wrote.
For some reason, bureaucrats love to restrict gun ownership.
It’s probably because they know almost everyone hates them and they’re scared that if they allow people to carry guns, they’ll get shot. It’s not the risk many like to think, but if it makes them feel important, so be it.
But that doesn’t give them the right to actually do it.
I’ve said before that a law-abiding citizen could be trusted with a rocket launcher, and no one will ever be hurt because of his or her possession of it. But if a violent felon can get his hands on a rock, he’ll still be able to hurt or kill someone. In other words, there’s nothing to fear from law-abiding citizens being armed and everything to fear from even a disarmed violent thug.
That’s why I’m glad the judge smacked down these regulations. The law-abiding in Delaware have a right to protect themselves, and not just from two-legged predators. There are other things in state parks that might represent a threat. Possibly a more horrific threat. Anything from bears to rabid squirrels can haunt the forests. All of those can be a legitimate threat that warrants using a handgun in self-defense.
But it seems that some didn’t think that right.
Luckily, they’ve been overruled.