Gun owner’s bogus movie theater arrest nets him $25,000; they messed with the wrong guy

A Colorado gun owner arrested by panicky cops in the wake of the Aurora mass shooting in 2012 has won a $25,000 settlement – but no apology – from the city that took him to jail.

jamesmapes0527James Mapes, 48, made Centennial State headlines with his arrest at a Thornton, Colo., movie theater only a week after killer James Holmes shot down 12 people during a showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” in nearby Aurora.

Mapes holds a concealed weapons permit, but was carrying his Glock G20, 10mm openly in a holster at the time of his arrest on July 29, 2012. A fellow theater-goer apparently saw the weapon and called police, according to Denver 7, the local ABC affiliate.

With the Aurora memories still fresh, the report of an armed man in a theater brought 17 police officers to the scene and led to the evacuation of nine theaters – all for one law-abiding man with a holstered gun.

“So where was the problem that they needed to respond in this manner?” Mapes said in an interview with Fox 31 at the time.  “Just this general perceived thing from the shooting the week before.”

He was even charged with brandishing though he said the weapon never left the holster.

Mapes is a vocal supporter of the Second Amendment – as you’d expect from a guy who wears a holstered gun openly to public places – and in March, 2012, had a letter to the editor published in the Denver Post arguing that more armed people would mean fewer mass shootings.

“Just one concealed-weapon holder in a classroom where a random criminal attempts to shoot the occupants could and would reduce the casualties, as they would either take out the offender or at least distract them while others managed to get distance from the shooter,” he wrote.

The body count at Aurora might have been lower if Mapes and his Glock had been around when Holmes started shooting. (At the time of his arrest, he was wearing a T-shirt that said “Liberalism breeds terrorism.”)

While the city of Thornton did not admit wrongdoing in arresting Mapes, Mapes’ attorney Robert Wareham said the $25,000 payment was proof enough the arrest was wrong. More importantly, it proved the point that constitutional rights don’t depend on the momentary whims of authorities to be valid.

“Coloradans, with the exception of Denver, have had the right to openly carry firearms since 1865,” Wareham told Denver 7. “We don’t take and use the mood of the moment to take way people’s rights.”

Check out Mapes’ 2012 interview with Fox here.

 

H/T: Daily Caller

Joe Saunders

Joe Saunders, a 25-year newspaper veteran, is a staff writer and editor for BizPac Review who lives in Tallahassee and covers capital and Florida politics. Email Joe at [email protected].

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