- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Being a retired cop made all the difference for Kio Ebrahimzadeh when he and his date were threatened with a knife earlier this month. The majority of California residents would have been helpless in the face of the imminent assault. Mr. Ebrahimzadeh is one of the privileged few in the Golden State permitted to carry a concealed gun.

The night started out pleasantly enough. Mr. Ebrahimzadeh picked a relatively secluded spot on the patio of the 3rd Stop, a Los Angeles restaurant. Dinner had just arrived when he and his companion were approached by a stranger, Kevin Scott Park, who loudly demanded they give him their food. Mr. Ebrahimzadeh refused and politely told him to go away and leave them alone. Instead, Park stepped off to the side, grabbed a bag and began rummaging through it, which signaled danger to the former officer. “My firearm was concealed in a bag on the table,” he told The Washington Times. “I was unzipping the bag when the man pulled out a huge knife and said, ‘Give me your food now!’ ” Instead, he was given the business end of a Glock 40 as Mr. Ebrahimzadeh drew his weapon and said, “Retired police officer. Drop the knife. Step back.”

In California, the only way a citizen supposedly can obtain a concealed-carry permit is if a bureaucrat arbitrarily decides an applicant has “good cause” - which in practice means it is nearly impossible to get one. As of 2011, San Francisco had issued zero permits to civilians and Los Angeles only 220, according to the Calguns Foundation. Wanting better personal security in a bad neighborhood or even having one’s life actually threatened isn’t considered sufficient. In some cases, political connections or campaign donations to elected officials helped. This stingy policy empowers criminals by creating an environment in which bad guys know that most potential victims are defenseless. Park clearly wasn’t expecting anyone at the 3rd Stop to be armed. Upon being confronted with Mr. Ebrahimzadeh’s gun, he spluttered, “You set me up!”

Instead of surrendering, Park left the restaurant carrying his weapon. Worried that Park was a danger to innocent bystanders, Mr. Ebrahimzadeh followed for blocks, pistol still drawn, shouting at pedestrians to get out of the way and call 911. One good Samaritan joined in the chase and kept dispatchers updated on their location. Eventually, Park spied an unlocked door to a retail shop and darted inside. The store fortunately was being used for a commercial shoot so was closed to the public. Park barricaded himself in the bathroom where he stayed, guarded by the still-vigilant Mr. Ebrahimzadeh, until the SWAT team arrived to take him in.

It was lucky for his date and other diners that Park assaulted the one guy equipped to handle it. If Mr. Ebrahimzadeh hadn’t been a cop, he’d have been a victim. California and other jurisdictions that don’t respect the Second Amendment need to ease up on arbitrary gun restrictions so all citizens can defend themselves against dangerous criminals who strike without warning.

Anneke E. Green is assistant editorial page editor of The Washington Times. Follow her on Twitter: @AnnekeEGreen