Post-Batman, Mayor Calls For Theater Gun Ban

Melissa Bailey PhotoThomas MacMillan PhotoA New Haven lawyer said he had every right to carry a loaded .40-caliber pistol into a Batman movie in downtown New Haven Tuesday night. Mayor John DeStefano said he shouldn’t be able to.

The remarks came at dueling press conferences Wednesday afternoon following an incident Tuesday evening at Criterion-Bow Tie movie theaters on Temple Street, where police arrested a lawyer who had carried a gun into the theater.

Sung-Ho Hwang (pictured at left), a 46-year-old lawyer and president-elect of the New Haven County Bar Association, was arrested Tuesday night at an evening showing of the latest Batman movie at the Criterion. Three patrons saw him carry a gun into the theater and— on the heels of a mass shooting at an Aurora, Colo. screening of the same movie last month—called the cops. They swept into the theater and charged Hwang with breach of peace and interfering after he allegedly refused to obey orders to show his hands.

Hwang was carrying a gun in a holster at the small of his back. He has a permit to carry the gun and said Wednesday afternoon that he had done nothing wrong.

At a 4 p.m. press conference Wednesday, Mayor John DeStefano and Police Chief Dean Esserman stood behind the cops and condemned Hwang’s behavior. DeStefano said people shouldn’t carry guns into dark movie theaters.

“Just because something is legal, doesn’t make it right,” DeStefano said.

The mayor called for a citywide discussion about gun control. He called for a change in state law to let New Haven ban guns in certain public spaces, such as theaters and churches.

“Do we need guns in theaters? Do we need guns at Batman?” DeStefano asked.

“We don’t expect anyone to go into a theater with a gun—or into a bar—or into a church, a mosque or a temple,” DeStefano said. “We ought to reflect on some behaviors that are clearly legal,” but that do not reflect the “values” by which New Haveners want to live.

“There is no posting at Criterion that states that weapons are not permitted,” Hwang said, reading from a prepared statement at a 3:30 p.m. press conference at his law office on Audubon Street. “As far as the law is concerned, I have a right to carry there.”

“I normally do not carry, but I live in downtown New Haven and the movie was getting out at 1 a.m., so I felt that I should protect myself since I was alone,” he said.

Hwang went on to say that he does not think the moviegoers did anything wrong by calling cops, especially in the climate of “heightened security” following the mass shooting at a Colorado showing of the Batman movie last month.

Hwang summoned the Second Amendment, which covers the right to bear arms. “When baseless breach of peace charges are brought against people that have a right to carry, it really threatens our Constitutional right to bear arms.”

He then sought to refocus the conversation on public safety in New Haven. “Why do law abiding citizens feel they need to carry a weapon? ... Why is New Haven considered the murder capital of Connecticut? Those are the real issues here.”

“I don’t know how to solve his perception of safety,” Mayor DeStefano later replied.

DeStefano called for the city to “step back, think about what happened last night,” and consider lobbying the state legislature for stricter gun control laws. He suggested the state set up a gun offender registry that would help cities track people convicted of gun crimes.

He said New Haven should follow the lead of Washington, D.C. and New York City in restricting the carrying of guns.

“I don’t see how carrying a gun into a movie theater is necessarily a protected right,” he said. “We could regulate this more.”

State Rep. Gary Holder-Winfield, who attended the press conference, said he believes “people have the right to have a gun,” but he would be “open to the concept” of restricting people from carrying them in certain places.

“Show Your Hands!”

Thomas MacMillan Photo

Here’s what happened Tuesday night, according to police spokesman David Hartman:

At 10:11 p.m. Tuesday, nearly 20 officers and two sergeants responded to the Criterion-Bow Tie movie theaters on Temple Street, where staff had reported a man with a handgun was inside one of the theaters.

An usher told cops that at least three movie-goers had said that a man had an unconcealed gun in his waistband on his back.

Cops first searched Theater 2, which was showing “The Watch.”

Officers then moved to Theater 1, which was showing the latest Batman movie, “The Dark Knight Rises.” That’s the movie that was debuting in a Colorado movie theater last month when a man opened fire with several guns and killed 12 people while injuring nearly 60 others.

The movie had not yet started when police entered the theater Tuesday night. The lights were up and about a dozen people were seated, watching previews.

“Patrons were told to raise their hands and file from the theater,” Hartman said. “As they exited they were patted down and escorted outside.

“Officers identified the suspect and with weapons drawn, ordered the suspect to put his hands up. He remained in his seat while using his cell phone. He did not comply with the officers’ commands, and was taken into custody by force. Officers removed a loaded handgun from the suspect’s waistband at the small of his back.”

Lt. Jeff Hoffman said police shouted, “Show your hands!” multiple times. Hwang refused to comply and continued to talk or text on his cell phone. He did not resist after cops grabbed him.

Other theater patrons reportedly urged him to cooperate with police when he allegedly ignored them.

The 46-year-old New Havener had a valid permit to carry a pistol. He was arrested on charges of breach of peace and interfering with police.

It was a “bad choice” to bring the gun to the theater, said Hartman. But packing a loaded pistol to the picture was not by itself illegal. It was Hwang’s “unwillingess to comply that turned it into a crime,” Hartman said.

The arrested man does not have a criminal record. He has two guns legally registered, Hartman said. The gun he had on him was a .40-caliber semiautomatic pistol, said Lt. Hoffman.

Police Chief Dean Esserman praised the “speedy and tactful response” of his officers and “thanked each individually for their professionalism.”

Hartman said all of the officers on the scene played an important role. Officer Daniel Hartnet was the first inside. Sgt. Rob Criscuolo and Officer Leonardo Soto made the arrest.

After the arrest and a quick check of the theater by police, moviegoers returned to their seats and watched the movie, Hartman said. He said police will be posted at upcoming showings of the Batman movie.

“He Cooperated”

Melissa Bailey File PhotoHwang was released on a promise to appear in court. He did not come into work on Wednesday morning, according to the receptionist at his Audubon Street office.

Attorney Keefe (pictured), a noted New Haven defense lawyer, said Hwang is his client.

“My client had a permit to carry,” Keefe said. “He was perfectly within his rights within the law.”

“Chief Esserman decided that he was going to be arrested.”

Esserman later denied that charge. He said he arrived at the theater after the arrest took place.

Asked what happened in the theater, Keefe said only that people shouldn’t simply believe the police account. “You can’t accept everything they say.”

He declined to describe the incident further. “I can’t tell you because it’s a court matter.”

At the Wednesday press conference Keefe’s colleague Charles Tiernan (pictured) said that Hwang had cooperated fully with police. “He did everything that the law requires. He absolutely cooperated.”

Asked about the police report that Hwang had refused to comply, Tiernan said, “You’re getting the police take on it.”

“The police arrived, they told him what to do and he did it,” Tiernan said.

Concealed Or Unconcealed

Chief Esserman said because Hwang had a permit, he had the legal right to carry his gun—even without concealing it. The relevant law is here.

Under the carrying permit Hwang had, the gun is “supposed to be covered, but does not have to be covered at all times,” Esserman said.

“Connecticut is generally an open-carry state. We’re not a concealed carry state,” said Wallingford attorney Craig Fishbein, a lawyer with some gun-law expertise. Permitted gun owners can carry a pistol on their hip just like a cop, Fishbein said.

Most people don’t realize that’s the case, Fishbein said. The result is that people are sometimes wrongfully arrested for legally carrying visible handguns, he said. He cited a couple of recent cases in which gun-owners were arrested for carrying guns in the open. In one case, in Wallingford, a man was arrested outside a pool hall for openly carrying a gun. He was arrested for breach of peace. The prosecutor threw out the case and the man is now suing the town, Fishbein said.

Fishbein said that based on what he had read and heard about Hwang’s arrest, the incident could result in Hwang suing the city for wrongful arrest.

Attorney Karen Torre also questioned the arrest, based on the preliminary information she had heard about it. “Honestly, I don’t see a crime there.” Hwang had a permit and he was not obligated to do anything the police ordered him to, she said.

“So he didn’t show his hands. That’s not a crime,“she said. “That sounds like a shaky arrest to me.”

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posted by: robn on August 8, 2012  10:17am


This might be a problem if the Criterion doesn’t post a “no weapon” sign at their door.

Have to admit though…shoving a sidearm into one’s rear waistband and then sitting on it; exhibits profound lack of judgement.

posted by: Stylo on August 8, 2012  10:36am

What BS. Violated his rights, smeared his name/image. Not unexpected from such an ultra liberal city and state. A lawful citizen like this could’ve prevented an Aurora shooting.

posted by: Yaakov on August 8, 2012  11:02am


I imagine that he didn’t just shove a sidearm into his waistband. He most likely had his sidearm in a IWB (inside the waistband) holster at the 4:30 or 5:00 position. This is an extremely common way to carry a legal pistol, either concealed carry or open carry, both of which are legal in Connecticut.

posted by: Yaakov on August 8, 2012  11:06am

There are two elements to this story that I find odd:

A: Why did the police respond with as much force as they did? There was no indication that any crime was being committed.

B: Why didn’t the attorney in question respond to the officers’ requests? If he was attempting to test the bounds of the NHPD compliance with Connecticut’s open-carry laws, why did he give the police an excuse to charge with additional crimes?

posted by: DRAD on August 8, 2012  11:07am

I would bet anything that this guy knew exactly what his doing and wanted very much to get a rise out of the theatre’s management, the other patrons and the ultimately the police.  I’d also bet that the charges that have been filed get dropped and the NRA and other anti-gun-law folk start to scream about the 2nd amendment and their rights.  I get it - - what he did was legal. . .but just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.

posted by: smackfu on August 8, 2012  11:13am

“unwillingess to comply that turned it into a crime”

What a joke.  He was only charged because the overwhelming force of police needed to do something after making such a big scene.  They couldn’t just let the guy go or anything.  Those charges will be dropped or plead to nothing in no time.  New Haven doesn’t need another lawsuit against the police.

posted by: robn on August 8, 2012  11:18am


If the proprietor posted a no-weapon sign would it still be legal in CT? I don’t know if Criterion did but I have seen those signs on buildings in Texas who don’t want weapons carried into their workplace.

posted by: Yaakov on August 8, 2012  11:29am


Indeed, signs on the entrance stating that no weapons are allowed have the force of law in CT. In some states the signs must reference the specific statutes. In CT they do not need to do so.

Do not take this as legal advice, however. This information is worth exactly what you paid for it.

posted by: Bruce on August 8, 2012  11:48am

What this man did was to create a potentially deadly situation where one did not exist.  His irresponsible behavior (not responding to reasonable police requests) created a hazard not only to himself, but also to the men, women and children surrounding him. This is a movie theater, not a wild west saloon.  The probability that you will need a gun to defend yourself while watching a film is so incredibly small, that there is no real justification for needing “protection”. You’re more likely to be struck by lightning or have an anvil fall on your head.

If more people carried guns into movie theaters, there would be more accidental shootings.

posted by: Sean Matteson on August 8, 2012  12:00pm

There were those which argued that if only a law abiding citizen was carrying a gun the Aurora tragedy may have been prevented.  I reject this notion completely.

What we witnessed last night made absolutely no one feel safe (especially the patrons of the theater) and was a terrible lapse of good judgement.  That being said, just because you are allowed to do something does not mean you should.  And when it comes to guns one mistake can be deadly.

Great job by the NHPD.  This situation could of got out of control very easily.

posted by: UNH Grad on August 8, 2012  12:31pm

There’s a couple questions here that need to be addressed:

1.  Is it legal to carry a gun into a movie theater in CT?

Yes.  I respectfully disagree with Officer Hartman’s opinion.  There is nothing wrong with carrying into a theater.  At all.  The only places you are legally prohibited from carrying in are:
-CT Capitol building and legislative offices
-Schools or School-Sponsored Events
-Any business, residence, etc where the person who owns/exercises control prohibits firearms

2.  Can you openly carry a handgun in CT?

Yes.  CT does not issue “concealed” weapons permits.  They issue a “Permit to Carry Pistols and Revolvers.”  Nowhere on the permit (or in state statute) does it prohibit carrying openly, though there are some vague guidelines the state provides regarding open carrying.

3.  Did this individual fail to comply with a lawful, reasonable order from a Police Officer?

Yes.  This is why he was arrested.  If he had simply complied with the Officers and allowed them to investigate, they would have found his permit and sent him on his way.  He decided to ignore the cops pointing guns to him (presumably to make some kind of point or something?) and ended up getting pinched.  THAT he deserved.

posted by: robn on August 8, 2012  12:45pm

Whats interesting (and i look for some insight from responsible gun owners) is that CT seems to have exclusive licenses for conceal carry and open carry. So I wonder if the person in question only had a conceal carry permit, but flaunted his possession of the weapon in a public place, would that justify his arrest.

posted by: Yaakov on August 8, 2012  12:49pm

Sean Matteson,

Respectfully, I question how you can completely reject the notion that in a mass shooting, having armed civilians around can prevent mass casualties.

What about the April 2012 shooting in the church parking lot in Aurora, CO, where a shooter killed one person before being shot and killed by a member of the congregation who had a legal concealed weapon?

Or what about the February, 2005, shooting on the steps of the Tyler, TX courthouse, where the shooter was stopped by a civilian with a legal handgun?

Or what about the January, 2002 shooting at the Appalachian School in Grundy, VA where three people were killed, but the shooter was stopped by three students who had handguns and were able to subdue him without firing?

Or what about the April, 1998 shooting at a middle school dance in Edinboro, PA, where a neighbor heard the shooting, ran over with his legal firearm, and apprehended the murderer without firing his own weapon?

Or what about the October, 1997 shooting at a high school in Pearl, MS, where the shooter killed three students before the vice principal pulled his Colt .45 and apprehended him without firing a shot?

If I were in a situation where a gunman began firing, I would hope there were at least a few armed civilians who might be able to do what any of the civilians in these examples did.

posted by: Yaakov on August 8, 2012  1:11pm


As UNH Grad noted, CT does not distinguish between open carry and concealed carry, but rather simply issues a “State Permit to Carry Pistols and Revolvers. Many police officers throughout the state seem to be unaware of that, but after a number of lawsuits were brought, it seems that the police are generally beginning to appreciate that CT recognizes the right to open carry.

posted by: Curious on August 8, 2012  1:26pm

CT Post article says the guy is an attorney.  President of the New Haven Bar, in fact.

posted by: LorcaNotOrca on August 8, 2012  1:31pm

OK, so he was legally carrying a handgun.

But you can’t blame theater patrons and management for calling cops. If I see a guy with a gun, my first reaction isn’t, “Oh, I’m sure he has a permit. It’s cool.” And these days, with all that’s gone down, you really can’t be too careful.

So it’s really no big surprise that anyone called the cops. The cops didn’t know he had a permit, etc.

But the fact that they evacuated the theater, brought it cops WITH THEIR GUNS DRAWN who ordered him to show his hands, and all he did was keep chatting/texting on his phone when he could have just done what they said while mentioning he has a permit.

This jerk knew what he was doing and wanted to make some ridiculous point that I don’t even think needed to be made. So yeah, he was arrested. GOOD.

posted by: UNH Grad on August 8, 2012  1:33pm


That website is incorrect.  Connecticut does not issue Concealed Carry Permits.  They simply do not exist in our state.

I will refer you to the following documents for more information:

posted by: CityWatcher on August 8, 2012  1:37pm

Yes, we all know how many violent crimes have been stopped due to prominent placement of no weapons allowed signs.

posted by: robn on August 8, 2012  1:43pm

Actually, to re-emphasize what others have already written, forget about the pistol. Unrepentant chatting on a cell phone inside of a movie theater was, in itself, worthy of an arrest and probably a billy-clubbing for good measure!

posted by: streever on August 8, 2012  1:45pm

Were you at the theater? You rarely write on the NHI, so I’m curious if you have a connection to this.

My neighbors can’t get the police out when they’ve actually been assaulted, so I am a bit surprised that the Criterion could get this many officers this quickly.

posted by: anonymous on August 8, 2012  1:59pm

“CT Post article says the guy is an attorney. President of the New Haven Bar, in fact.”

And hero of the gun lobby, which makes billions of dollars off all of those dead people.

posted by: Edward_H on August 8, 2012  3:07pm

Both Brad Palmer and Pattis need to cite the state statute that compels permit owners to carry their weapons concealed. Thomas you are the best reporter at the NHI. Please follow up on this issue with those two. Open carry is perfectly legal in Connecticut, however if a person who openly carries causes a public disturbance the police can make an arrest on a Disorderly Conduct or Breach of Peace charge. 

State v Indrisano

The offenses of breach of peace and disorderly conduct have the same intent element:  “with intent to cause inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof.”  In State v. Indrisano, 228 Conn. 795, 810-11 (1994), the Supreme Court applied the following interpretive gloss to the mens rea language of the disorderly conduct statute:  “The predominant intent must be to cause what a reasonable person operating under contemporary community standards would consider a disturbance to or impediment of a lawful activity, a deep feeling of vexation or provocation, or a feeling of anxiety prompted by threatened danger or harm.”  In State v. Wolff, 237 Conn. 633, 670 (1996), the Court applied it to the breach of peace statute.  See also State v. Scott, 83 Conn. App. 724, 730 (2004) (“the defendant’s right to exercise his freedom of speech is not as significant as compared to nearly causing a car to collide with him and frightening the occupant”).

Robn This is the relevant law you were askign about

Sec. 29-28 (e) The issuance of any permit to carry a pistol or revolver does not thereby authorize the possession or carrying of a pistol or revolver in any premises where the possession or carrying of a pistol or revolver is otherwise prohibited by law or is prohibited by the person who owns or exercises control over such premises.

posted by: LESGTINCT on August 8, 2012  3:42pm

I am a LE SGT. in a city in CT with 18 years experience.  It is 100% legal to carry a pistol either openly or concealed.  The permit is a permit to carry pistols or revolvers, not a carry concealed permit.  It even states this on the State Police website.  The police’s peace can not be breached and a citizen’s peace can not be breached if a valid permit holder carry’s openly.  In CT it his Constitutional Right to carry.  Even if a sign is posted, no weapons, he can carry until he is told to leave.  If he does not leave then it is trespassing not breach of peace.  IMO, the police are not properly trained in dealing with leagally armed citizens.  If a shooting did occurr he would have been able to intervene.

posted by: eastshore on August 8, 2012  4:08pm

As president of the New Haven County Bar Association, Mr. Hwang should have used better judgement.  His first instance of poor judgement occurred when he went to the movies with a non-concealed gun.  I mean really… I would hope that Mr. Hwang is intelligent enough to realize what sort of commotion such an action would cause in today’s society.  His second lapse of judgement happened when he did not obey the officer’s orders to raise his hands.  Really Mr. Hwang, don’t you think New Haven police officers have enough to deal with in our city?
Unless of course he was trying to prove a point through his actions.  If his motivation was to prove a point, the only point he proved to me is that the New Haven County Bar Association should be looking for a new president.  A guy like this could give lawyers a bad reputation…

posted by: stuckinNH on August 8, 2012  4:30pm


posted by: robn on August 8, 2012  5:10pm


The Ricci (firefighters) award was $2M.

As of the July 2011 Moody’s rating, the unfunded liability in our pension system was $430M (a number very close to our annual budget of $471M).

posted by: robn on August 8, 2012  5:18pm

I scoured the statutes today and couldn’t find wording describing how one must carry a weapon except in the case of lock boxing it for automobile travel.

It seems pretty clear that Atty Hwang was baiting; seems like a case of reverse ambulance chasing to me.

posted by: CityWatcher on August 8, 2012  5:21pm

Both Pattis and Palmer are both wrong. There is no concealed carry requirements in Connecticut.
Also the Mayor is right, people shouldn’t need “legal” guns at theatres, churches or mosques but, they do sadly. Banning law abiding citizens does nothing to stop criminals (we all know how much they obey laws).

Walking through a cloud of cigarette smoke on public streets alarms me as to what it can do to my health. Yet as in what this man did, it’s perfectly legal.  New Haven PD had guns drawn before they entered the building, they then aimed there guns at someone not breaking ANY laws or posing any threat to anyone.
Interfering and Breach of Peace both require the same element to warrant arrest “ INTENT”. Good luck proving it.  Both charges are go to charges for police when they want justification to arrest people.

posted by: Anderson Scooper on August 8, 2012  5:26pm

Was this a publicity stunt to build name recognition for Mr. Hwang’s law practice?

B/C that’s about the only way this debacle makes any sense, both on the part of Mr. Hwang, (who lives around the corner at a Johnson-Simons condo), or on the part of the police….

posted by: Curious on August 8, 2012  6:18pm

“Just because something is legal doesn’t make it right” - this from Joe DeStefano, the guy who thinks it’s okay to live here illegally.  What a joke.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on August 8, 2012  6:30pm

I wonder if he was a Blackman.Would they have shot him.

posted by: mw4357 on August 8, 2012  6:36pm

Not only did the NHPD violate Mr. Hwangs Constitutional Rights, they also violated the rights of EVERY PERSON who was in that theater. It was unlawful for them to order everyone to raise their hands and subject them to search. This is still The United States of America where everyone has the right against Unlawful Search & Seizure (I hope New Haven still follows the Constitution) see the 4th Amendment. WOW these officers need re training in Constitutional Law. I believe all members of that audience should file civil suits against the city for violating their rights.
The police have a job to do, it is tough but they still need to follow the rules. We are not in a police state; yet.
The officers involved in this incident should be happy about the Mayors statement today because that should remove personal liability from them . I pity the New Haven Taxpayers who ultimately will pay dearly for this mistake.


posted by: Adam E on August 8, 2012  8:47pm

This ‘debate’ is ridiculous.  I don’t think that it is at all a stretch to say that the people who commit the majority of gun crimes in New Haven (or the rest of CT for that matter) a) are not legally in possession of their weapons or b) carry them openly.

DeStefano’s ‘solution’ is equally ridiculous:

>>The mayor called for a citywide discussion about gun control. He called for a change in state law to let New Haven ban guns in certain public spaces, such as theaters and churches.<<

You’re not calling for a ‘discussion’ of something if your next statement calls for a ban of it.

>>“We don’t expect anyone to go into a theater with a gun—or into a bar—or into a church, a mosque or a temple,” DeStefano said.<<

We don’t expect it, but clearly it happens.  Unless he is proposing to install metal detectors (or the TSA?) at these locations, these measures will do nothing to deter anybody who intends on doing actual harm.  Nobody would have noticed Hwang’s gun if he had simply been wearing a jacket or kept it otherwise concealed.  Yes, if I were in that theater and noticed a gun sticking out of Hwang’s pants I would probably be nervous, and might even leave or alert the theater staff myself in the wake of what happened in CO, however what we’re really talking about here is preventing citizens who both legally carry weapons and have a permit to wear them openly from doing so.  If there is no mechanism in place from preventing somebody from walking in to these places with concealed a gun, is that really going to make anybody feel safer?  It means nothing.

>>“We ought to reflect on some behaviors that are clearly legal,” but that do not reflect the “values” by which New Haveners want to live.<<

By reading the comments, this sentiment is clearly not reflective of the values of all New Haveners.

>>“Just because something is legal, doesn’t make it right,”<<

Translation: “Just because I don’t like something, doesn’t mean it should be legal.”  - and we’ve all seen where this leads.

posted by: Noteworthy on August 8, 2012  8:59pm

DeStefano holds a press conference is based on ignorance or ego - either way, it’s off base.

Does the mayor have a clue as to what it takes to get a permit to carry a loaded firearm? The background checks both local and federal? It’s extensive.

Moreover, gun violence in New Haven is not coming from people like this guy - it’s coming from thugs, muggers and gang bangers. And to that, DeStefano says he doesn’t know how to address the perception of safety in New Haven at 1am in the morning? Well, DeStefano gets paid handsomely to know but then again, his lack of knowledge is one of the reasons why we had a record number of bodies stacking up in the streets last year and why there are another 11 dead this year.

And one other thing: DeStefano says just because it’s legal, doesn’t mean it’s right. When DeStefano starts living and governing by that mantra, his words will ring a lot truer than the hollow, tin noise I hear now.

posted by: robn on August 8, 2012  9:20pm


Didn’t you get the memo? Only high school educated single white men age 25-45 would commit a mass murder.

posted by: Edward_H on August 8, 2012  10:49pm

““Just because something is legal, doesn’t make it right,” DeStefano said.”

WOW!! No wonder cops in this town think they can confiscate cell phones, cameras ,delete pictures at will and threaten reporters with arrest if they do not delete pictures from their cameras. When the top dog in the city has disdain for what is legal no wonder his underlings follow suit.

posted by: Edward_H on August 8, 2012  11:03pm

“I wonder if he was a Blackman.Would they have shot him.”

Are there some statistics showing that people with the surname “Blackman” are more likely to be shot by cops? Those Blackman’s must be some troublemakers!

That’s a joke by the way. Don’t take it seriously I know what you meant to write.

posted by: ElmJackCity on August 9, 2012  4:58am

Mayor Destefano has some nerve declaring what is right.  He is notorious for skating or removing himself from the law.

Anyone remember the police officers shooting guns in the air on State St. not too long ago?  Last I checked only one officer has been formally terminated.  Criminals produce shootings every night in New Haven; it is well known fact.  Is New Haven a dangerous place to live?  I would say yes.

Does anyone ever recall any investigation undergone to conclude as to how many shots were fired by NHPD the night that there was a SHOOTOUT on College St., in downtown New Haven?  Or, how many shots that the perpetrator fired?  In any case, would you have wanted to be armed in order to defend yourself or loved ones? 

Why is it so difficult to believe that there are actually people who would choose to personally defend themselves instead of relying on what would seem an unreliable police force?  This is not discounting the individual contributions of officers who put themselves in harm’s way. 

As for the issue of carrying a firearm, it is my opinion that concealed carry is a preferable means of doing so.  The issue as to whether or not the subject identified was carrying concealed is not clear. 

I think it is clear that the theater does not have a public notification that prohibits the carrying of personal defense weaponry. 

We live in a society of polemic disagreement.  Perhaps, this attorney is picking the right fight.

posted by: streever on August 9, 2012  7:24am

According to the arrested, the story you’ve read isn’t an accurate depiction of the night. It is hard to say he did anything wrong when we don’t really know what he did.

posted by: Wildwest on August 9, 2012  7:43am

Yeah, lets take the guns away from solid law abiding citizens so only the criminals have them. great ideas here in liberal central.

On one hand I hope the lawyer sues, on the other hand I hope he doesnt since I will be paying for the lawsuit he wins with my outrageous property taxes!

Yet another example of the police letting the real criminals run rampant while they cherry pick the easy ones that pose no danger to anyone.

posted by: WestvilleAdvocate on August 9, 2012  7:48am

This entire story really makes me sick, in so many ways:

I am in the process of actually obtaining a permit to carry a concealed handgun.  I am getting the permit because I want to join a gun club and shoot for recreation within the confines of the gun club (targets and skeet shooting).  I am concerned I live in a city where it is actually my right, after going through all the paperwork and permitting and training, to carry a concealed weapon and potentially be arrested for doing so legally.  Not that I would intentionally carry a weapon while out for an evening but if I decided to go to the club and then take a side-trip on the way home to a movie or a restaurant and I am carrying a concealed weapon, with my permit, I now have to be concerned about being arrested!?  This is so wrong.  I’m not even arguing the law is right that I can carry with a permit but until the laws are changed our police should not be making up law.  The police are charged with making sure citizens act within the law, not making up their own law.

Second, I am uneasy that I live in a city where my neighbors feel they have to carry a weapon for self defense and that our Mayor stupidly says, ““I don’t know how to solve his perception of safety,” Mayor DeStefano later replied.”  Come on!  Is he serious?  Why not actually charge your police force with doing their job and then the law abiding citizens of this city will actually change their perception of our city.

Really!  The police can’t even stop people from running red lights.  I kind of understand why people feel unsafe in this city.  The perception is we don’t even have a police force that does their job on a basic level…of course we don’t feel safe Mr. Mayor.

You have the power for reform and after 2 decades its pretty sad that you haven’t been able to change our perception of how safe this city is.  Don’t put the blame back on law abiding citizens make some proactive changes in the department.

posted by: Wikus van de Merwe on August 9, 2012  8:00am

He’s lucky some other “hero in waiting” wasn’t present to take care of the impending threat.

posted by: Megan on August 9, 2012  8:29am

Many of the commenters, as well as Mr. Hwang, say that we would be safer if we all carried guns.  The Aurora movie theater killer wore a ballistic helmet, a ballistic vest, ballistic leggings, a throat protector, a groin protector, and tactical gloves.  He would not have been stopped by bullets.  This kind of gear is readily available for anyone who wants to purchase it.  Furthermore, the idea that we can stop violence by using more violence is completely illogical.

posted by: robn on August 9, 2012  8:47am

Bottom line is that James Holmes killed 12 people in a Colorado movie theater on July 20th.

Now just two and a half weeks later Atty Hwang carelessly exhibits a pistol (at a showing of the same movie) to make a point about gun rights. This isn’t just a crass insult to the Colorado victims’ families, and this doesn’t just exhibit poor judgment (which alone should justify removal of his Bar Association presidency), but as EDWARD_H has pointed out is, in context, clearly a violation of breach of peace and disorderly conduct statutes.

FYI…Two days after the Colorado killings, in a movie theater in Norwalk, CA, a man who was angry at too many previews yelled “does anyone have a gun? I should go off like in Colorado”. He made his point and for that he was prosecuted for criminal threat and disturbing the peace.

Attorney Keefe is staring down the barrel of a rare embarrassing loss.

posted by: LESGTINCT on August 9, 2012  8:59am

Even if there were a sign posted he could not get arrested for BOP.  If he refused to leave then it would be trespassing.  There is nothing wrong with carrying a gun in his rear waistband.  By not allowing guns in theatres it will not prevent criminals from bringing guns in only law abiding citizens.

posted by: cedarhillresident! on August 9, 2012  9:43am

Snap this was ego and we all know it. Hoping that it went national on the news. And note worthy I gagged a little when he said ” just because it’s legal, doesn’t mean it’s right”!!!

posted by: Bruce on August 9, 2012  9:49am

WestvilleAdvocate:  You can rest easy on your first concern.  You cannot be arrested for legally carrying a firearm—nor was the attorney in this case.  Hwang was arrested for failure to comply with the police’s request to show his hands so that they could safely check his permit.  Thankfully the police did a professional job and nobody was injured or killed.

posted by: okaragozian1 on August 9, 2012  10:32am

This is why a lot of people didn’t vote for the Mayor the last time around.  Yelling fire in a crowded theater is not allowed unless there really is a fire, and that if something is allowed by State Law then it can not be wrong to do.

I am not aware of all of the “detailed” facts and neither is the media; the key word is “detailed”.  The picture to all concerned is fairly clear, but that who said what and when is still up in the air.

posted by: Curious on August 9, 2012  10:40am

Is “unwillingness to comply” a real crime?  That sounds ripe for abuse.

Maybe Hwang knew what he was doing and intended to show how out of control the NHPD really is.

posted by: QuestionGiven on August 9, 2012  10:53am

Oak, I wasn’t going to comment but I have to because its regarding our right to bear arms in CT.  I guess we as ordinary people that WEREN’T in the movie theater, would never know what happened and if he resisted arrest etc.  But, this whole thing WILL get thrown out in court.  I listed below CT’s law on breach of peace.  Someone who is licensed to carry a gun in CT CANNOT get arrested for carrying their gun.  As the attorney stated above, CT is an open carry state.  People are misinformed about the law, EVEN COPS, thats why they want to throw around that breach of peace when it comes to someone legally possessing a firearm..  Check this out..

Sec 53a-181. Breach of the peace in the second degree: Class B misdemeanor.

(a) A person is guilty of breach of the peace in the second degree when, with intent to cause inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof, such person: (1) Engages in fighting or in violent, tumultuous or threatening behavior in a public place; or (2) assaults or strikes another; or (3) threatens to commit any crime against another person or such other person’s property; or (4) publicly exhibits, distributes, posts up or advertises any offensive, indecent or abusive matter concerning any person; or (5) in a public place, uses abusive or obscene language or makes an obscene gesture; or (6) creates a public and hazardous or physically offensive condition by any act which such person is not licensed or privileged to do. For purposes of this section, “public place” means any area that is used or held out for use by the public whether owned or operated by public or private interests.
When we break this down, we have (a) which says a breach of the peace occurs when you intend to create annoyance or alarm by one of the following:

Fighting or being violent or threatening. (Obviously does not apply)
Assaults or strikes another. (Same)
Threatens to commit any crime (Same)
Uses abusive or obscene language (Same)

And then there is the last clause which I would argue also does not apply, but even if one argues that it does apply (a serious stretch), a Connecticut pistol permit holder is clearly ‘licensed and privileged’ to carry their firearm and the law is silent on how it must be carried.

posted by: ISR on August 9, 2012  10:58am

Yes, Bruce is correct. Just because you have a right to carry a firearm doesn’t mean the police don’t have the right to verify that right. They police aren’t mind readers. If they didn’t have the right to check, then the permit is meaningless. They cant assume that because someone has a gun that they have a permit. And they also had the right to issue directives to other theater patrons in the interest of public safety. Hwang violated a lawful police order, which is probabsble caise for an arrest. It had nothing to do with his permit to carry.

posted by: QuestionGiven on August 9, 2012  11:01am

Here was the rest of my post…

Both clauses have to be proven, neither would hold up in court. Neither ever have.
If you can find a case in CT where someone was legally carrying a gun and got arrested for breach of peace for it being exposed and it wasn’tthrown out of court, please let me know..
I’m not talking about someone being arrested and was drunk while carrying a gun or like the two new haven cops before doing stupid things while having a gun, No.  I’m talking about someone saw a gun on someone, called the police on that individual, that individual had a permit, and was arrested for breach of peace.  Those cases DO NOT hold up in court..
Thats why the NHPD had to also say that he was interfering with Police as well.  They know the breach of peace will get thrown out! Mayor, how can you try and ban guns in a “dark” movie theater.  That is a JOKE!  The last time I checked, there aren’t any movie theaters that leave the light on.  Its not Motel 6.  Come on Mr Mayor.  CT IS an open carry state and it is OK to walk around with your gun exposed if you have a permit.  Mr Hwang WILL get off for the breach of peace.  For the interfering, I don’t know and I wasn’t there.  But it amazes me how NHPD always has to add other charges to make sure other ones stick!

posted by: ISR on August 9, 2012  11:14am


I don’t have a permit. Are you saying I could carry a gun, and the police don’t have a right to verify that I am permitted to do so? And that I can’t be arrested for refusing to comply with a lawful police order to verify my permit?

posted by: QuestionGiven on August 9, 2012  11:19am

With everyone stating that Mr Hwang resisted and didn’t obey orders, HOW DO WE KNOW THAT?  Just because the police said that?  Let’s break this down..
Mr Hwang is President elect, NEVER been arrested, has a gun permit and gets arrested for what the police said, interfering.  Come on!  If that was me, I would’ve stayed on the phone as well so that the person on the other line can listen to everything that the cops are saying.  He wasn’t walking around the movie theater, flashing his gun to people or anything.  I have a permit as well and I carry mine EVERYWHERE that I go.  You never know.  When I’m at the movies, I have it, when I go to church, I have it.  I’m NOT breaking any laws or anything.  If I want to walk around with it exposed, I can.  I am well within my right.  Do you think that people that are going to commit a crime and don’t have a permit for their weapon is going to walk around with it out?  Come on people!  It is LEGAL for a permit holder to carry OPEN or concealed.
Listen to this from the Board of Firearms Permit Examiners..

posted by: QuestionGiven on August 9, 2012  11:24am

This is the LAST thing from me(for today).

MANY CT police depts are not well versed in the Open Carry Law in CT..

Thats why when something like this happens, the police try to tack on other violations so that ALL will stick.

posted by: Outland on August 9, 2012  11:40am

“Just because something is legal, doesn’t make it right,”. So following that logic “Just because something is illegal does not make it wrong” means he should not have been arrested on charges of breach of peace and interfering with police

posted by: ISR on August 9, 2012  11:45am


You didn’t respond to whether it’s ok for someone who doesn’t have a permit to be challenged to verify. The police aren’t mind readers.

Incidentally, Hwang could be at sanction risk from the state’s law licensing board.The regulations enjoin against bad, intemperate judgement. You don’t have to break the law to be sanctioned. Even if the case gets thrown out.

posted by: QuestionGiven on August 9, 2012  11:56am

No, thats not what I’m saying.  If you LEGALLY have a permit to carry and you walk around with it and you are approached by the Police, comply with their orders and inform them that you have a permit.  It all comes down to complying with what the police are asking.  How do we know that he DID NOT comply?

posted by: QuestionGiven on August 9, 2012  12:24pm

It is OK for someone that doesn’t have a permit to be challenged by police.  But that isn’t the question here.  How many people that don’t have a permit, walk around carrying their weapon OPENLY?  The only time that we hear about someone carrying a gun without a permit is when the police are investigating an incident or if a crime takes place.  You don’t hear about someone that is unlicensed walking around with a firearm in plain view..
Hwang will not be at risk because he was WELL within his rights to carry.  How is that BAD judgement for him to carry legally?  Even if he wanted to carry his firearm at work, he can(as long as there isn’t anything posted stating that he can’t).  Thats not using bad judgement to carry at his workplace.  We never would’ve thought that someone can walk into a movie theater and shoot up the place, you never know nowadays the way things have been happening.  If you legally have a permit, you can carry anywhere except specific places that the law says like schools, federal buildings etc.

@Outland, how is him carrying his firearm LEGALLY in a movie theater, Not right?  Someone got spooked and called the police.  When they verified, he did have a permit.  How is that NOT RIGHT for him to carry?  Think about this, if a movie theater puts up a sign stating that you cannot carry into their establishment, do you think that would deter someone from causing harm to someone else in that movie theater?  If someone has a permit to carry, it is their right to carry either concealed or unconcealed in CT to protect themselves.  If someone sees the weapon and calls the police and that person has a permit, its OK.  Again, 9 times out of 10, someone that doesn’t have a permit and is carrying a gun is NOT going to have it open or out in plain view.

posted by: LESGTINCT on August 9, 2012  12:35pm

The licensing board would not be involved here because a law was not broken. It says right on their site the permit is for carry, open or concealed. There is no need for discussion on their part.

posted by: Gretchen Pritchard on August 9, 2012  1:13pm

I wish this comment thread had a “Recommend” function.

If it did, I would recommend the following:

jhonn_m on August 8, 2012 1:31pm

Megan Fountain on August 9, 2012 8:29am

robn on August 9, 2012 8:47am

Bruce on August 9, 2012 9:49am and 11:48am

posted by: ISR on August 9, 2012  1:54pm


The standard for a law license includes “good moral character,” a lower, broader standard than either probable cause for an arrest or beyond a reasonable doubt for a conviction. I’ll leave it to others to decide its applicability.

posted by: Michael Carpinello on August 9, 2012  1:59pm

the gun statute says you must be a suitable person to carry a gun,so to all you smart people out there what is a suitable person?

posted by: Michael Carpinello on August 9, 2012  2:01pm

oh and another thing did he get a refund?lmao

posted by: LESGTINCT on August 9, 2012  3:39pm

Again, I have experience in these matters and I am telling you as an expert the board will not revoke his license to carry.  It is very difficult to have your license revoked.  In essence you are taking away someone’s Constitutional Right.

posted by: LESGTINCT on August 9, 2012  3:53pm

In essence this is a suitable person:

(b) Upon the application of any person having a bona fide residence or place of business within the jurisdiction of any such authority, such chief of police, warden or selectman may issue a temporary state permit to such person to carry a pistol or revolver within the state, provided such authority shall find that such applicant intends to make no use of any pistol or revolver which such applicant may be permitted to carry under such permit other than a lawful use and that such person is a suitable person to receive such permit. No state or temporary state permit to carry a pistol or revolver shall be issued under this subsection if the applicant (1) has failed to successfully complete a course approved by the Commissioner of Public Safety in the safety and use of pistols and revolvers including, but not limited to, a safety or training course in the use of pistols and revolvers available to the public offered by a law enforcement agency, a private or public educational institution or a firearms training school, utilizing instructors certified by the National Rifle Association or the Department of Environmental Protection and a safety or training course in the use of pistols or revolvers conducted by an instructor certified by the state or the National Rifle Association, (2) has been convicted of a felony or of a violation of subsection (c) of section 21a-279, section 53a-58, 53a-61, 53a-61a, 53a-62, 53a-63, 53a-96, 53a-175, 53a-176, 53a-178 or 53a-181d, (3) has been convicted as delinquent for the commission of a serious juvenile offense, as defined in section 46b-120, (4) has been discharged from custody within the preceding twenty years after having been found not guilty of a crime by reason of mental disease or defect pursuant to section 53a-13, (5) has been confined in a hospital for persons with psychiatric disabilities, as defined in section 17a-495, within the preceding twelve months by order of a probate court, (6) is subject to a restraining or protective order issued by a court in a case involving the use, attempted use or threatened use of physical force against another person, (7) is subject to a firearms seizure order issued pursuant to subsection (d) of section 29-38c after notice and hearing, (8) is prohibited from shipping, transporting, possessing or receiving a firearm pursuant to 18 USC 922(g)(4), (9) is an alien

posted by: Cheryl38 on August 9, 2012  5:44pm

I hope he sues the New Haven Police Department.  This is clearly a wrongful arrest and they state he “resisted arrest” to cover themselves.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on August 9, 2012  5:57pm


Are there some statistics showing that people with the surname “Blackman” are more likely to be shot by cops? Those Blackman’s must be some troublemakers!

That’s a joke by the way. Don’t take it seriously I know what you meant to write.

I glad you know what I meant.In fact ask Black police officers how many of them have been close to being killed or have been killed by white cops.In fact one of the police officers in this story my mother used to babysit him.

On Diverse Force, Blacks Still Face Special Peril.

If this would have been a blackman with a gun and he didn’t follow police Instructions he would have been dead.

posted by: Stephen Wilcox on August 9, 2012  9:34pm

It is amazing, in light of what happened in Aurora, that so many of the commentators are defending Mr. Hwang and criticizing the police. Bringing a gun to Batman? What would one expect to happen? He is lucky he did not get shot.

We look back at defenders of slavery in the 1800s and wonder how they could have been so blind to the realities of slavery. How were otherwise reasonable and intelligent people not able to see that slavery was completely wrong and against the ideals our country was founded on?

I often wonder what future generations will think when they look back on us. What do we do today that will seem completely barbaric to future generations. My vote is our disturbing love affair with guns.

posted by: Jones Gore on August 9, 2012  11:08pm

The mayor is going to far! If the mayor wants to ban guns in city building let the board of alderman vote it in. But the city or nor the state should be allow to tell places of worship or private business that people are not allowed to enter in an establishment with a legal gun. Leave that to the places of worship and the business.

posted by: epoc on August 10, 2012  2:47am

So what I’ve read so far is that this guy was suspected by someone who does not understand the law, arrested by police who do know the law. Chose to not become a victim that day and legally carry his gun. Bece the victim of stupidity ...In recent events he may have been worried for his own safety and the safety of the ones he cares for, and for that chose to be a watchdog for the entire theaer. What a hero. He decided that he would not let himself or his fellow audience become victims of something terrible. Hwang…thank you. If you have a phobia of guns, there is help. Education and experience are the best medicine. To not educate yourself on the laws of the land, and to always stay in the dark about firearms is going to be a hard life. Education is out there, you just have to choose to per sue it. Everyone is afraid of the dark, until they turn on the light.

posted by: Bruce on August 10, 2012  9:08am

For those of you didn’t read the whole story…

Hwang was NOT arrested for bringing a gun into the theater.  He was arrested for failing to cooperate with the police.

Did the police “Fabricate” that story?  Who knows? But there were plenty of witnesses to so it will all come out in court.

posted by: QuestionGiven on August 10, 2012  11:04am

I don’t know what story you are looking at, but HE WAS arrested for carrying a gun.  The police charged him with breach of peace for people seeing his gun..  Then the police tagged on interfering because of him talking on his cellphone or allegedly not complying..  So, the first charge was Breach of peace.  That is a normal charge that Police use when they can’t find anything else.  I don’t know whether that is taught in the academy, just to use breach of peace, when all else fails.  We’ve been hearing that lately in the news.
One thing that I should point out, for those of you that are permitted to carry, if you are going to carry open in CT, make sure your firearm is in a holster and on you properly.  If it’s just tucked in your belt or something, that does look suspicious!  If I saw someone with it in their holster, I probably wouldn’t call the cops on them opposed to seeing someone with it tucked in the back of their pants as is the case here. 
So, I DO think on Mr Hwang’s part, better judgement should have gone into HOW he carries his weapon and not like some have posted, where he’s carrying his weapon to….  Just my $.02

posted by: Bruce on August 10, 2012  11:54am

QG: I disagree.  The gun was irrelevant.  His deliberate refusal to cooperate with the police put innocent people at risk.  The police have every right to verify his permit.  He ignored their orders, laughed, and continued his cell phone conversation.  This bizarre and deliberately un-cooperative behavior could have gotten someone killed, regardless of whether or not he had a gun.  Thankfully the police kept their cool in an unnecessarily intense situation.

This behavior (not that of carrying a weapon) seems to pretty clearly constitute breach of peace per section the statute, below.

Sec. 53a-181. ...(a) A person is guilty of breach of the peace in the second degree when, with intent to cause inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof, such person: ... (6) creates a public and hazardous or physically offensive condition…”

posted by: nahavener on August 10, 2012  8:18pm

As i said on another post,most of the guns that are in the criminals hands were purchased from permitted gun owners.Knowledge i know and have from being part of New Haven streets in the 80s and 90s .
Many people from the suburbs would come and trade their fire arms for just a small amount of guy traded up-to 100 hand guns 2 were used in murders, he was caught and received a 51 month sentence .not alot of time for the damage inflicted and probably still inflicting.
So outlaw guns and only outlaws will have guns.
The mayors comment is a joke there are more guns in the hands of our youth than anyone could dream about,and even easier to get.I know i was there.Fortunate enough to crawl out.

posted by: Edward_H on August 10, 2012  8:26pm

Under the carrying permit Hwang had, the gun is “supposed to be covered, but does not have to be covered at all times,” Esserman said.
He needs to cite which part of the statute instructs legal gun owners when and where their legal firearm is “supposed to be covered,”
“Someone who is licensed to carry a gun in CT CANNOT get arrested for carrying their gun.”
Yes you can.
All legal gun owners need to realize you can be arressted for carrying a gun legally,( see Goldberg v Glastonbury).  The NHPD routinely aressts people who are legally taking pictures and confiscate cell phones to cover themselves. Is anyone truly surprised that they would arresst a law abiding citizen engaging in legal open carry? One cop even threatened the writer of this article with arrest if he did not delete photos from his phone and went so far as to promise to do it again even when he was told he had no right too.  I am not saying thatc ops arresting a person engaged in open carry is right or but gun owners need to know that the courts are no help.,31&as_vis=1
Megan Fountain
“Furthermore, the idea that we can stop violence by using more violence is completely illogical.”
I suppose the north should have never went to war with the south and allowed them to break the United Stated in half and keep the institution of slavery and that the world should have let never went to war against Hilter since using violence against violence is “illogical”.  I guess the patrons in the Colorado movie theater were also “illogical” since they called the police to use violence against the violence being commited against them.
Just to be clear I do not believe Hwang violated any law. His openly carrying of a legal firearm in and of itself is not a violation of the law. The prosecutor will have to prove intent but the cops are allowed to make an arrest as per Goldberg v the Town of Glastonbury. Anyone who thinks the police cannot ask a person who is openly carrying for their permit should read this case.

posted by: Brutus2011 on August 10, 2012  10:30pm

Wow—the mayor really said that he was didn’t know how to solve Kwang’s perception of safety—I thought you were smarter than that—busted!

Mayor DeStefano, it is your job to solve our perceptions of safety in a city where our children are killing each other in the streets.

Time for a new mayor.

posted by: LESGTINCT on August 11, 2012  7:53am

There is no law requiring a permit holder to show his permit. Please show me if there is. You won’t find one.  The Glastonbury case for Probable cause was undecided in the Federal Courts. The State Police Firearms website states a permit holder can OC or Conceal. The permit itself says carry not conceal. So show me how a permit holder can committ BOP? One can’t.

posted by: LESGTINCT on August 11, 2012  9:34am

In Goldberg v. Glastonbury the federal appellate court determined that the law in Connecticut is not settled. This resulted in a finding that the Glastonbury police officers would not be held liable for any infringement of Mr. Goldberg’s Fourth Amendment rights. In Peruta v. Commissioner of Public Safety state appellate court placed the burden on individuals such as Mr. Peruta to use private funding and resources to settle the law by thinking of every conceivable set of circumstances under which an individual may engage in the lawful open carry of a handgun and then filing a petition to the Department of Public Safety requesting a ruling on whether or not under the circumstances described an individual would be placed under arrest.  The Torrington Police Department and the Wethersfield Police Department have issued training memorandums addessing and clarifying this issue since it was raised in Goldberg v. Glastonbury.

But the same cannot be said for the Police Officer Standards and Training Council (POST Council). As recently as April 12, 2012, a Norwalk Police Department officer and 2010 graduate of the training academy, testified that Connecticut state statutes specify a permit that allows for only the concealed carry of a pistol or revolver by permit holders while open carry requires no permit at all. As long as the law remains unsettled and police officers remain untaught and confused, arrested individuals bear the burden of the unsettled law. Courts will find, as the courts did in Goldberg v. Glastonbury, that the unsettled status of the law provides an excuse for law enforcement, relieving law enforcement of accountability for violations of individual rights. 

posted by: Stephen Harris on August 11, 2012  1:36pm

The second amendment has been misread for a very long time. It reads:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”.

Punctuation counts. We have the right to keep and bear arms to we can form a militia in order to keep the state free.

There’s nothing in there about taking your gun to the movies.

posted by: Edward_H on August 11, 2012  3:45pm

Steven Harris

“Punctuation counts. We have the right to keep and bear arms to we can form a militia in order to keep the state free.”

The Supreme court disagrees with your interpretation RE : Columbia v Heller ” “the Second Amendment protects a personal right to keep and bear arms for lawful purposes, most notably for self-defense within the home.”

“There’s nothing in there about taking your gun to the movies.”

The State of Connecticut has the right to regulate where handguns are carried, i.e. school grounds. The state has not listed movie theaters as one of those places. So as long as the property owner has no prohibited weapons on his property the man was in compliance with the law as currently written.


“There is no law requiring a permit holder to show his permit. Please show me if there is. You won’t find one. “

There is also no law allowing cops to arrest or threaten people who are photographing or recording their actions from a safe distance yet people in CT have been arrested for doing so. In these cases BOP or Interfering charges are filed against the supposed perps. You are 100 percent correct but the law is currently written in a way that allows a cop to arrest a person engaging in legal activity with out repercussion.

posted by: epoc on August 11, 2012  4:08pm

Please interpret the constitution for us. Bearing arms? I think the law was made very broad for a reason, and if i had to take a guess…and this is a very educated guess, i would say that when the constitution was created and the second amendment was formed, there were establishments that were comparable to our modern day theater…and i bet there were people carrying rifles inside of those establishments. I would even imagine that when the constitution was written, it was written in the presence of firearms. Please interpret the second amendment for me some more.

posted by: Stephen Harris on August 11, 2012  5:02pm

@ Edward_H

Spelling counts too. My name is Stephen, not steven ;-)

I understand the Supreme Court’s position on guns. It’s based on our historical development and cultural attitudes towards firearms. Nevertheless, my remark was a correct reading of the sentence.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on August 11, 2012  5:29pm

Here is how the state can control who can carry a firearm.Look at what they do in New York.And The Supreme court can not stop this.New York has Five Types of hand gun Licenses.


CARRY BUSINESS LICENSE: This is an unrestricted class of license which permits the carrying of a handgun concealed on the person.

LIMITED CARRY BUSINESS LICENSE: IS A RESTRICTED TYPE OF LICENSE. The licensee may only carry handguns indicated on the license in accordance with the specific limitations listed thereon.

SPECIAL CARRY LICENSE: Is valid for the business name, address and handguns listed on the front of this license, only while the licensee has in his possession a valid basic county license issued according to the provisions of article 400 of the N.Y.S. Penal law.

CARRY GUARD LICENSE: (SECURITY GUARDS, ETC.) Applications for this type of license must be made with the documentation provided by a company’s Gun Custodian. It is issued only for the handgun listed on the license. The handgun may be carried only while the licensee is actively engaged in employment for the company whose name appears on the license, and/or while licensee is in transit directly to or from residence and place of employment.

Read the rest and remember Chief Esserman worked in New York and knows this.

posted by: Stylo on August 12, 2012  3:02pm

Wake up, Mayor. This man wouldn’t have felt the need to protect himself had it not been for the ILLEGAL gun activity in the city. Why should we spend time and resources punishing those who legally carry when the violence problem is related to illegal gun ownership?

posted by: Edward_H on August 12, 2012  3:57pm

Stephen Harris

“Spelling counts too. My name is Stephen, not steven ;-)”

Sincere apologies.

“I understand the Supreme Court’s position on guns. It’s based on our historical development and cultural attitudes towards firearms. Nevertheless, my remark was a correct reading of the sentence”

Correct or incorrect as my spelling of you first name was your interpretation is legally irrelevant as my own. The Supreme court has spoken on the matter and until they rule again American have the right to bear arms in self defense.

posted by: terrapin on August 13, 2012  10:27pm

Having passed the bar exam does not mean you have any sense. Even all the NRA types who cherry pick every news item where a gun came in handy will admit that a crowd of people with guns in a dark smokey theatre are just as likely, in all the confusion, to hit each other as they are to hit the shooter. The second amendment does little other than to let people walk around with guns and the false sense of being able to put down a shooter like the guy in CO.

posted by: jmaloney on August 15, 2012  1:08pm

I once went to a restaurant and an individual had a knife. H kept playing with the sheath, opening and closing it. He was sweating and looked nervous so we reported him to the management. That being said, I have a concealed carry permit, and have every right to carry it in the state of CT. with the exception of schools, places of worship or places that serve alcohol. I have every right to carry a gun into a movie theatre unless the management posts it.

The police know this, and could have handled the situation much better. I continue to feel that our government and police wish to turn law abiding citizens into criminals, and our criminals continue to receive preferential treatment over hard working tax paying folks. Look at the increase in murders since the elimination of the death penalty. Two more in Meridian last night.

The above article is liberal nonsense.

posted by: robn on August 15, 2012  1:56pm


You’re absolutely right about this liberal, fear mongering anti-gun nonsense. Nobody would ever just quietly walk into a theater playing the batman movie and start randomly shooting people.

posted by: jmaloney on August 15, 2012  4:26pm


Sorry you feel the way you do. My only hope is that the next time someone tries to walk into a Batman movie and open fire, a law abiding citizen like Mr. Hwang might be there to save your butt. Problem is your confusing a psychotic killer with an upstanding member of society. I understand the phone call to police, that’s OK. I might even uunderstandthe police reaction, but probably not.

I guarantee there are more licenced carriers than just Mr. Hwang carrying to the Batman movie in hopes of protecting their families from copycats, and they could save you too.

posted by: Brutus2011 on August 15, 2012  4:57pm

to “robn:”

I respectfully disagree.(I enjoy your posts)

I am a social liberal (flaming-ly so).

But I believe in the right to bear arms, although I detest sidearms. I remember when I was a boy and we used to summer in the Catskills near PA. and a black bear was rummaging around our neighbors cottages and got too close a number of times. All the men, and myself and my cousin, loaded up 12 gauges with slugs and we went hunting. I learned a lot during that hunt. We survived and the bear did not. Guns are not bad. Some people are. And if they have guns, then the rest of us sure should as well.

And I really think you can’t compare Mr. Hwang with the disturbed person in Colorado.

posted by: Bruce on August 15, 2012  5:27pm

Based on the number of viewing and the number of people killed, your odds of getting shot while watching that batman film is about 1 in 7 million.  Odds of being struck by lightning are about 1 in 10,000. 

If you are going to carry around a gun for protection, fine.  But don’t think you need one just because it’s the batman movie.

posted by: Wildwest on August 15, 2012  7:48pm

The way this city is run I may jump through the hoops for a conceal permit myself. Dont fool yourself, this is a dangerous city with not enough police action to scare even the most pathetic criminals.

I see the cops jump all over this lawyer with a legal gun but not criminals roaming the streets driving anything they want any way they feel like it 24/7 and it really makes a person mad.

posted by: robn on August 15, 2012  8:17pm


The next time someone tries to walk into a Batman movie and open fire, I’ll hope that law abiding citizens like Mr. Hwang are sporting high velocity rifles because a 40 cal ain’t gonna do it against body armor.


I’m familiar with Pennsyltucky black bears and they won’t hurt you unless you get btwn them and their cubs or food. Brown bears on the other hand…(incomplete emphasis mine)

posted by: Adam E on August 16, 2012  11:34am

A recent example of good(?) intentions backfiring:

posted by: Yaakov on August 16, 2012  6:10pm

How many murders have we had here in New Haven so far this year? How many shootings? How many of those murders and shootings were committed by individuals legally licensed to carry the firearms they used in the commission of those crimes?

The mayor does not choose to give a press conference when there is actually a shooting a few blocks from the movie theater where this took place (or anywhere else in this city, for that matter), but when an individual decides to take legally take his safety into his own hands, that merits a press conference?

The mayor really needs to work on his priorities.