Eeek! A Gun!

It is both amusing and disturbing to see people squealing like a victorian matron sighting a mouse whenever someone sees a gun. Honestly, rural America is awash with guns and such communities are far safer than urban areas. If someone cleared a hotel in my hometown because someone walked in with a deer rifle, the laughter would never stop. 

[Update (7:28 9.25.2008): The FBI has determined that “no credible threat” existed in an incident in Denver separate from this one that some believed might have triggered this silliness.]

21 thoughts on “Eeek! A Gun!”

  1. I know guns. I don’t squeal when I see them. but there is a concealed weapons law in Denver and the guy was breaking the law. And that is ok? Don’t like the law? act to change it, but don’t snicker rather than squeal cause it is still the law. Ps.: even on military bases in the U.AS., military usually not allowed to carry loaded weapons unless duly authoried (MP duty etc).

  2. The guy was checking into a hotel. He didn’t have criminal intent. The hotel clerk may have overreacted; the police certainly did. The poor guy should be let go.

    Military bases have their own rules, as do national parks and other federal properties. Your bringing them up is a red herring.

  3. I should add that it’s not obvious that the guy was breaking any laws. Denver is a liberal city in the middle of a conservative state, and has a history of imposing its own gun-control rules in violation of state law.

  4. Fred Lapidies,

    …but there is a concealed weapons law in Denver and the guy was breaking the law..

    The guy was carrying a rifle case. Not exactly concealed. Clearly, he had no intent to disguise the fact that he had weapons. Even if he had been carrying a concealed weapon, did that justify evacuating the entire hotel?

    Why couldn’t someone just have sidled over and asked about the rifle. When he said he was a hunter, they could have explained that with the convention in town everyone was on high alert and could he please put the weapons in the hotel safe or let the policy keep them. If he did have pistols or the like they could have given him a ticket or even hauled him.

    The funny thing in this episode is the hysterical (and no other word fits) reaction to a very normal event in red state America, a hunter checking into a hotel. Evacuating a hotel because a hunter has a gun speaks to a very unstable mindset.

  5. Regardless of the laws of CO and/or Denver, they are enforced by policemen who are often woefully ignorant of the actual laws and will – face it – use the Precautionary Principle (sigh) unless told otherwise.

    From what I can tell doing a search on weapons laws in CO, there is enough confusion about carrying, concealed or not, even for residents, that someone from out of state seems to acting conveniently stupid about this. Unless he’s done this in the past in which case the hotel clerk seems to be the numbskull.

    I don’t know but something about this story stinks.

    While there are “X bans all guns on the premises” requests here in MN that must be honored, open carry is otherwise completely legal – even in Mpls/St Paul. It’ll be interesting to see if something similar occurs here.

  6. A gun carried openly in a gun case is NOT a concealed weapon by any definition of the term. They called it that for the purpose of trumping up an excuse to charge him with a crime. They could have simply told him that firearms are not allowed in the hotel.

  7. Be careful when giving INCORRECT legal advice.

    “Open carry” is legal (but disfavored) in Minnesota ONLY if the person has a state-recognized carry permit. In any event, the Convention Hall itself will probably be properly “posted” against carrying firearms.

  8. No, he didn’t violate a Colorado gun law. Rifles in cases & handguns in luggage are not “concealed” under Colorado State law. However, the Denver PD has a history of being either ignorant of the law and/or making it up on the spot. For some odd reason they seem to think California laws apply here.

    The guy should have a pretty good case for suing the City of Denver and the PD, if he feels like it.

  9. Outside the City and County of Denver, the gun laws in Colorado are not that confusing. Unfortunately, Denver was able to convince a liberal Supreme Court to exempt it from the recent changes in gun laws which provided for (otherwise) state standardized shall-issue concealed carry laws.

    The problem has long been that the Denver police over-interpret the gun laws. So, for example, if you are carrying a pistol in a visible holster, it is concealed if the butt of the gun is not visible, and brandished if it is. So, they can probably argue that the gun was concealed because it was in a case. And, he probably had no idea that it was illegal (as it isn’t in the rest of Colorado, nor in Wyoming).

    This is a far cry from growing up there in the 1950s and 1960s when you would occasionally see guys wearing boots, hats, and pistols strolling down 16th Street.

  10. Colorado is a big hunting state. I’ve been hunting there myself and you don’t leave your guns in the car, they could get stolen. I would have thought nothing about carrying them in, in cases. I’d like to think I would have been a little more heads up to notice the increased security or, you know, the fact that there was a big convention going on.

  11. Jeez. I’m old enough to remember when you could carry uncased rifles on airplanes to hunt in Colorado. Seriously. Some of us got pulled to check deer during hunting season in the mid-60’s. I remember a guy talking about two Easterners with a rental truck and a goat strapped to the hood. They thought it was a deer. It had horns, didn’t it? The guy said the checkers said nothing and just tagged the goat. It probably weighed about 40 pounds.


  12. Those people have a phobia of firearms. I see them actually shudder when looking at a handgun. Seems to me they’ve been neutered by a lifetime of media scare tactics. And they truly believe that all firearms should be confiscated (and, I guess, all you need is love).

  13. Here are the problems with Denver arresting him on what are essentially bogus charges:

    1) the rifles were unloaded, in a case and locked.

    2) the handguns were locked in luggae and were (by legal definition) “Not readily accessable”.

    So there was no crime.

    Furthermore, the rifles were in transport from a vendor, and the guy was overnighting in Denver at a hotel where he had stayed many times before, prior to going to south africa on a hunting trip.

    CRS Sec. 38-118(a)(4)

    When such person is a collector or licensed dealer displaying or transporting such weapon for display or sale, or a citizen transporting such weapon for purpose of sale or repair to or from a place of sale or repair; all firearms so displayed or transported shall be unloaded at all times

    Furthermore this is from later interviews with the guy:

    “I didn’t even know the DNC was in town. I don’t watch the news,” said Joseph Calanchini from the Denver City Jail where he’s being held on bond. “If I had known, I would have done things differently. It was a simple mistake.”

    Calanchini, who talked to 9Wants to Know from the Denver City Jail, says he had the weapons because he’s getting ready to go on a hunting safari trip in Limpopo Basin, South Africa on August 28. He planned to hunt warthog, impala, baboon and jackals with a friend there.

    He says he had just picked up his rifles from the Sportsman’s Warehouse and had them in a locked gun case when he checked in at the Grand Hyatt. The clerk checking him in noticed the rifle case and called security.

    And regarding Denver’s attempt at defining the laws – the State Legislature has already overridden them specificlaly on state vs homerule regarding gun laws:

    29-11.7-101. Legislative declaration.
    (1) The general assembly hereby finds that:
    (a) Section 3 of article II of the state constitution, the article referred to as the state bill of rights, declares that all persons have certain inalienable rights, which include the right to defend their lives and liberties;
    (b) Section 13 of article II of the state constitution protects the fundamental right of a person to keep and bear arms and implements section 3 of article II of the state constitution;
    (c) The general assembly recognizes a duty to protect and defend the fundamental civil rights set forth in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this subsection (1);
    (d) There exists a widespread inconsistency among jurisdictions within the state with regard to firearms regulations;
    (e) This inconsistency among local government laws regulating lawful firearm possession and ownership has extraterritorial impact on state citizens and the general public by subjecting them to criminal and civil penalties in some jurisdictions for conduct wholly lawful in other jurisdictions;
    (f) Inconsistency among local governments of laws regulating the possession and ownership of firearms results in persons being treated differently under the law solely on the basis of where they reside, and a person’s residence in a particular county or city or city and county is not a rational classification when it is the basis for denial of equal treatment under the law;
    (g) This inconsistency places citizens in the position of not knowing when they may be violating the local laws and therefore being unable to avoid violating the law and becoming subject to criminal and other penalties.
    (2) Based on the findings specified in subsection (1) of this section, the general assembly concludes that:
    (a) The regulation of firearms is a matter of statewide concern;
    (b) It is necessary to provide statewide laws concerning the possession and ownership of a firearm to ensure that law-abiding persons are not unfairly placed in the position of unknowingly committing crimes involving firearms.
    Source: L. 2003: Entire article added, p. 652, § 2, effective March 18.

    So a good case can be made that he was well within his rights, and the the Secret Service overreacted and in doind so violated his rights onder Colorado Law and the Colorado and US Constitution.

    Personally, if I were him, I’s demand that the SS agent that forced the arrest be relieved of his duties and fired from his job. Egregious violation of a persons rights is not acceptable for any federal law official. Last I head the guy was still in Denver Jail, awaiting a hearing.

  14. No, I see what appears to be the politically correct abuse of an innocent person as leftist nonsense. The hunter should have been checked out and released (assuming he had no bad intent) rather than tossed in the klink “until a hearing,” which I suspect means he will be jailed for several days at least, to make an example of him. What did this man do to give you the idea that he might be an assassin, or that he has any connection to the meth-head nutcases who are the subject of the article to which you link?

    “Eeek! A gun!” is a perfect description of the official reaction in this case.

  15. “Open carry” is legal (but disfavored) in Minnesota ONLY if the person has a state-recognized carry permit

    Good points. All true.

  16. Fred Lapides,

    There was this attempt, it seems, and the FBI is working on the case:

    So, the guys next door to me were cooking up a little meth so that therefor justifies the cops kicking in my door? Proximity to a crime does make an unrelated party culpable. What you don’t seem to understand is that the guy didn’t do anything wrong or even unusual. All he did was try to check into a hotel carrying his weapons just like hundreds of thousands of hunters will do this year. Again, being in possession of a gun is in and of itself not an indication one is up to no good.

  17. Reporting
    Brian Maass
    DENVER (CBS4/AP) ―

    Denver’s U.S. attorney is expected to speak on Tuesday afternoon about the arrests of four people suspected in a possible plot to shoot Barack Obama at his Thursday night acceptance speech in Denver. All are being held on either drug or weapons charges.

    One of those suspects spoke exclusively to CBS4 investigative reporter Brian Maass from inside the Denver City Jail late Monday night and said his friends had discussed killing Obama.

    “So your friends were saying threatening things about Obama?” Maass asked.

    “Yeah,” Nathan Johnson replied.

    “It sounded like they didn’t want him to be president?”

    “Well, no,” Johnson said.

    Maass reported earlier Monday that one of the suspects told authorities they were “going to shoot Obama from a high vantage point using a … rifle … sighted at 750 yards.”

    Law enforcement sources told Maass that one of the suspects “was directly asked if they had come to Denver to kill Obama. He responded in the affirmative.”

  18. Fred,

    Shannon’s talking about a different guy with a gun. He had no intent to assassinate anyone. Why should he be treated like a criminal?

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