Pistol-packin’ theatergoer defends his decision

Jim Mapes

Jim Mapes (Photo: KUSA-TV)

(Updated Aug. 8, 2012 at 8 pm MDT)

Jim Mapes, the man who was arrested last Sunday night for taking a gun into a Thornton, Colo., movie theater, spoke to a Denver reporter today at his attorney’s office.

According to Denver’s 9News:

Mapes was arrested for ‘investigation of a possible dangerous weapon.’ According to Thornton Police, the law states that a person with a concealed carry permit cannot ‘display or flourish a dangerous weapon in a manner calculated to alarm another person.’

It’s reassuring to know such a law exists in Colorado. and that everyday people who are alarmed at the sight of someone packing heat in the supermarket, for example, actually have a legitimate reason for calling the police.

In his defense, Mapes claims he’s been to the theater some 30 times in the last few years, always with his gun. He got his concealed carry permit in 1993 and has been carrying every since.

I carry because I am trying to be responsible for my own self defense. People say I’m being insensitive because it’s right after the shooting [Aurora theater shooting, July 20]. Well, if you’re worried about copycats, then I would be kinda foolish to leave my gun at home.

Mapes says he’s been bombarded with phone calls and has attracted attention from as far away as England and Korea because of his actions.

It’s tempting to think that’s exactly what he hoped to do.

In any case, he’s due in court again on September 3 unless the charges against him are dropped.

(See video interview on the 9News website.)

Update: The City of Thornton today dropped its charges against Mapes. The county DA is still reviewing possible state charges.



Categories: guns, Law, Society

15 replies

  1. I would be uncomfortable seeing a gun on someone’s person in public situations anytime–whether it’s at the movies, the supermarket, the park. Why brandish the thing and draw attention to yourself? I’m glad that law is in place too. I didn’t know that.

    • It’s going to be a very subjective thing, deciding if someone is displaying or flourishing a dangerous weapon in a manner calculated to alarm another person. Does simply wearing a sidearm amount to displaying or flourishing? How do you judge that person’s intent? Since carrying openly logically makes you a target, why would you do it unless you intend to alarm or send a message? And how do you decide what is alarming? What might alarm me might not alarm someone else. I can see it being a tough law to enforce in court, but I’m still glad to know it exists.

      • In Texas, carrying is illegal if someone can tell you’re packing. The gun HAS to be concealed. I’d rather people got used to seeing peaceful, law abiding, gun toting people and realized that they might be their salvation rather than a threat. When I carry openly in Florida and Georgia, nobody takes notice. Here in Texas, I believe they’d flip out like most of those commenting here.

  2. As much as I don’t care for people carrying guns, if he wasn’t waving his gun around all over, but someone just saw it on his person, then he has not done anything illegal. Doesn’t mean I don’t care for it, but the law is the law. If he has a carry permit, then he has a carry permit. Simple.

  3. Appears to me that the local law that got Mapes arrested is in conflict with the state law allowing him to openly pack heat. Shouldn’t state law prevail?

    We are presented here with two opposite views of how society should operate, Mapes’ and the NRA’s, versus those who support the Brady Bill. Consider the case of the “Plain Jane Bank Bandit” who, according to ABC News was just arrested the other day. She had robbed six banks, each time getting away with a few hundred dollars. While she displayed no gun, there is always the threat of violence in any robbery of this kind. If any bank lobby had been filled with customers packing like Mapes, I submit there would likely have been bloodshed and collateral damage. Personally, I prefer the non-shooting, catchy-name approach.

    • I don’t know if there’s a direct conflict of the applicable laws, but certainly it’s going to require a subjective judgment from the court. I suggest that Mapes, in openly carrying a weapon, is inviting subjective interpretations from bystanders who might not always conclude that he has good intentions. I also think that in inviting situations like this, he is doing a disservice to fellow gun owners who wish to carry weapons without drawing the ire of the community. The last thing I want to see in someone carrying a gun is bad judgment.

      As for Plain Jane, I would hope no vigilante citizen with a gun would have confronted her inside the bank. Tellers are instructed to hand over the money without any kind of resistance (other than dye packs and silent alarms), and I can’t remember the last time I saw an armed guard in a bank lobby. Not sure armed civilians have the same training. The NRA would probably argue that Jane would not have approached the tellers in the first place if she’d seen guns in evidence. Of course, I wouldn’t have stuck around either. Who wants to risk being caught in the middle of a shootout?

      • You actually still go inside banks? It’s dangerous to do that here – too many armed robberies.
        Here people don’t carry guns in the open – that’s a little too confrontational – and asking for trouble. Too many ego driven individuals trying to be important.
        Don’t know about the case above, but all laws should be enforced.

  4. If you were still wondering about the differences between Canada and the US, in terms of gun culture and other stuff, this might explain a few things… according to his letter to the Calgary Herald, Walt Wawra, a Michigan police officer, was in Calgary, walking through a public park in the afternoon, when he was approached by two men. They asked if he had been to the Calgary Stampede yet. Walt felt so threatened by the encounter that he wrote the letter, complaining that he wasn’t allowed to carry a weapon in Canada.

    He felt so threatened (“I thank the Lord Jesus Christ they did not pull a weapon of some sort…”) by the two men, who did nothing except ask him if he had been to the rodeo yet, that he felt he would have needed a weapon to protect himself.

    Walt’s letter:
    http://www.calgaryherald.com/opinion/letters/Nose+Hill+Park+confrontation+makes+visitors+feel+unsafe/7050028/story.html

    I quickly moved between these two and my wife, replying, “Gentle-men, I have no need to talk with you, goodbye.” They looked bewildered, and we then walked past them.

    The paper’s response:
    http://www.calgaryherald.com/opinion/columnists/nosehillgentlemen+Kalamazoo+police+officer+letter/7054368/story.html

    Wawra’s mindset is what America’s gun mania has produced. How paranoid and how very sad.

    Americans argue that they need to carry guns, because having a concealed weapon makes them feel safe. Their thinking seems to be that at any given moment, they could be under attack from the very next person they meet on the street, and they’ll need to shoot in self-defence. Whereas, when you walk down a street in Canada, you don’t assume that you’re at risk of being suddenly assaulted or killed. You just see ordinary people going about their day and you give their motives no further thought.

    …someone pointed out in a comment thread that the murder rates (via guns) between Kalamazoo, Michigan (pop: 75,000) and Calgary (pop: 1.09 million) are very similar. Sad, sad, sad, sad… but mostly in a pathetic kind of way.

    • This would be very sad if it were just Wawra. The fact that there are so many people in this country who think and feel exactly like Wawra is a million times worse, not to mention frightening. Not only are they paranoid, but their paranoia endangers others. What if I’d walked up to this guy on the street in Cheyenne, Wyo., and asked him if he’d been to the Frontier Days rodeo yet? Would he have pulled his gun on me? Sounds like he might have. Maybe I’ll think twice the next time I consider asking a stranger what time it is, or if he’d take my picture in front of the monument, or where the nearest supermarket is … Is this what we’ve come to?

  5. Update on this story: The City of Thornton today dropped its charges against Mapes. The county DA is still reviewing possible state charges.

"You don't have true freedom until you allow a diversity of opinion and a diversity of voices." ~ Don Lemon

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: