Update, 2:00 PM, 1/14/13
According to the Guilford Police Department, the case concerning the complaint against Senator Meyer and Retired Officer Pat Leary involving the use of the BB gun at a Gun Control Forum is closed.
"From our standpoint, based on our investigation, there was no criminal violation," Sgt. Jeff Provencher of the Guilford Police Department just told Guilford Patch. "According to the officers report after interviewing the involved parties, the organizer of the event at the Church was aware of the presence of the BB gun, and was made aware that it would be used at the presentation prior to the meeting."
Update, 3:15 PM, 1/13/13
The Guilford Police just released the following Press Release:
On this date, police responded to a church for a report of someone carrying a B.B. gun inside of the facility. Police arrived and found that there was an Informational Forum on Gun Control being sponsored by and held at the church, where State Senator Ed Meyer was a speaker.
Police determined that the B.B. gun was unloaded, there was no ammunition present and it was on private property. People who organized the meeting were aware of the B.B. gun, and all people who attended the forum were advised at the beginning of the event, that the B.B. gun was a prop and inoperable at the time.
This case remains under investigation.
Original Story, 1/13/13
Following state Sen. Ed Meyer's forum on gun-control legislation at the First Congregational Church Sunday, a North Branford resident lodged a complaint to the Guilford Police Department against the senator and recently retired Guilford Officer Pat Leary, who assisted in Meyer's presentation.
According to Richard Burgess, who issued the complaint, both Meyer and Leary were in violation of state statute 53-206 concerning the possession of a BB gun in public. Burgess cited the past arrest of Estelle Margolis, an 86-year-old woman who was arrested for bringing a BB gun to a town hall meeting.
"There are laws against people possessing and showing a BB gun in public," Burgess said. "At the very least, the officer should have been taken away in handcuffs. The senator should have known better ... these are the laws he helped to make."
Burgess is the president of Connecticut Carry, a nonprofit group organized around the protection of citizens' right to bear arms. He told police that he had taken picture of Leary holding the weapon and was prepared to use that evidence in his statement.
According to Sen. Meyer, the BB gun was disabled and church leader Craig Mullet, who organized the meeting, was aware it would be there, which would exempt him from the statute. Prior to showing the BB gun, he also announced that he had it in his possession and would be using it for educational purposes during the presentation. According to these statements by Sen. Meyer, both he and Leary would fall under an exemption to the statute.
As a result of the complaint, Guilford Police confiscated the BB gun, but no arrests were made.
"We have confiscated the BB gun for investigatory purposes," Guilford Police Officer Sgt. Robert Dube told Guilford Patch. "We will get statements from Sen. Meyer, Officer Leary, and the man who filed the complaint, and follow up with the issue."
Burgess is determined to follow up on the issue.
"I am heading down to the police office after this to make my statement, and I am prepared to pursue this issue," Burgess told Patch. "Both the officer and the senator were waving it around in front of the meeting, the retired officer stating he was trained in using weapons. This was meant to create fear of an assault weapon and to stir up hysteria about this issue."
Guilford Patch was unable to get a statement from retired Officer Leary. No arrests were made as a result of the complaint, and the matter is still under investigation.
Madison Patch editor Pem McNerney contributed to this story.