Jim Mapes scored an important victory in the battle for gun rights, the Second Amendment, and increased his bank account by $25,000 at the same time.
The city of Thornton, Colorado, paid Mapes that mount to settle a lawsuit over a wrongful arrest for carrying a licensed gun.
Police arrested Mapes, confiscated his gun and held him for four hours on July 29, 2012, even though he had violated no law. The arrest came after Mapes decided to test his constitutional rights by openly wearing his Glock automatic pistol to the movies a week after the Aurora theater massacre. Thornton, like Aurora, is a Denver suburb.
“No threats, no shots, no violence,” Mapes told Denver TV station Channel 32 shortly after the arrest. “Just a man doing what is protected under the Colorado Constitution.”
The charges, which were later dropped, falsely accused Mapes of brandishing the weapon he simply wore in a holster as he had done in the past. Thornton’s city ordinances only ban the carrying of weapons inside public buildings. Mapes carried the weapon for which he has a concealed carry permit to a privately owned movie theater. The movie already had started when police began looking for them.
“The movie stopped and the lights came on,” he told TheDenverChannel.com. “Someone said, ‘I just got a call from my friend who said there’s someone in the theater with a gun.’”
His attorney said he never should have been arrested.
“Coloradans, with the exception of Denver, have had the right to openly carry firearms since 1865,” Mapes’ attorney, Robert Wareham, told the media. That means Colorado’s open carry right predates statehood; Colorado entered the Union in 1876.
“The city’s attorney, (undoubtedly liberal), kept saying that the D.A. and city prosecutor got it wrong,” Wareham noted on his Facebook page. “No, the cops at the theater got it wrong. Violate someone’s rights, get out the checkbook. Sorry, Thornton taxpayers.”
Man Arrested for Carrying Gun in Park
Mapes isn’t the only Colorado resident who received a settlement from a municipal government for being arrested for legally carrying a gun. The City of Colorado Springs had to pay Army veteran James Sorensen $23,500 after he was arrested for wearing a handgun on his hip in a city park, as Off The Grid News reported.
Sorensen was apparently arrested in 2012 for violating a statute that was repealed in 2003, nine years before the arrest. Even though it was off the books, the ordinance was still contained on a list of laws given to cops on the beat.
“I knew the law. I knew that it was legal for me to carry,” Sorensen said. “My rights were trampled on.”
Police tried to claim that there was a sign that stated guns could not be carried in the park. Sorensen claims that there was no such sign.
When he tried to quote the law to police, officers suggested that Sorensen get an attorney. He did and sued the city, and like Thornton, the city of Colorado Springs settled out of court.
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Sorensen and Mapes did the right thing: They cooperated with officers on the scene and then fought back in court.
Know the laws in your area, and if arrested, contact a gun-rights attorney. Websites such as gunrightsattorneys.com can put you in touch with such a litigator in your state.
Do you support or oppose open carry? Let us know in the comments section below.