[Update] BB Gun Complaint Case Against Sen. Meyer Closed, No Criminal Violation Found Police Say

The case involving the complaint lodged against Sen Meyer and a retired Guilford Police Officer is closed, according to Police, with no criminal violation found.


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.

Susan C January 13, 2013 at 08:15 PM
This was a forum where THE PUBLIC was invited. Sen Meyers is not allowed to disobey the law by creating a public disturbance by waving around a BB gun. If he is not arrested I want to know why!!!
Walter Corbiere January 13, 2013 at 08:27 PM
Hi Lauren The gun-rights activist who called the police seems to have misread Section 53-206. He asked that an arrest be made under 53-206(a) However: Section 53-206(b)(5) and 53-206(b)(6) provide clear exceptions to this rule. This was an "authorized event" and and the church Peace Affirmation and Justice Committee chose to invite the Senator onto its property specifically to discuss the current state of the law and what can be done to reduce gun violence in America. The relevant text of 53-206(b) is below "(b) The provisions of this section shall not apply to . . . (5) the carrying of a BB. gun by any person taking part in a supervised event or competition of the Boy Scouts of America or the Girl Scouts of America or in any other authorized event or competition while taking part in such event or competition or while transporting such weapon to or from such event or competition; and (6) the carrying of a BB. gun by any person upon such person's own property or the property of another person provided such other person has authorized the carrying of such weapon on such property, and the transporting of such weapon to or from such property. -------------------------------------------
Walter Corbiere January 13, 2013 at 08:33 PM
Bringing a BB gun to a Town Hall meeting does not seem to fit under either of these exceptions unless some authorized town official asked her to bring it.
Susan C January 13, 2013 at 08:34 PM
At the very least Sen Meyers violated this stature by causing alarm with the offensive conduct of holding up the BB gun in a PUBLIC forum. Sec. 53a-181a. Creating a public disturbance: Infraction. (a) A person is guilty of creating a public disturbance when, with intent to cause inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof, he (1) engages in fighting or in violent, tumultuous or threatening behavior; or (2) annoys or interferes with another person by offensive conduct; or (3) makes unreasonable noise. (b) Creating a public disturbance is an infraction
Susan C January 13, 2013 at 09:24 PM
"inoperable at the time". Word games. So it WAS operable if it had BBs. That means that it was in effect a functioning operable weapon. That is a clear violation of the statute. To recklessly waive around a weapon in a PUBLIC hearing in inexcusable. Hypocracy and double standard?
Alan Zimmerman January 13, 2013 at 09:34 PM
Herb January 13, 2013 at 09:34 PM
No one in the audience indicated they felt threatened, nor did anyone cry out for assistance. Further, I believe Mr. Burgess should be billed for all costs related to the summoning of the Guilford police as it was a clear misrepresentation of 53-206. We, the public should NOT have to bare any of the costs in manpower, travel, and any other expenses related to this false call. I trust Patch will follow up to assure the readership that Mr. Burgess or his group will pay all charges.
Alan Zimmerman January 13, 2013 at 09:39 PM
Joan January 13, 2013 at 09:47 PM
False call?. An extremist elected official recklessly waves around a functioning weapon in a hearing he called that was OPEN TO THE ENTIRE PUBLIC. A 86 year old women was just arrested for this. If Burgess walked into that meeting and waved a functioning bb gun around hed be arrested on the spot. Obviously by the Guilford Police wording the gun was operable ( if it had bbs) What Senator Ed Meyers did was illegal. Not knowing the law is no defense or excuse. End of story. He should of been arrested on the spot along with the retired officer. CAN YOU SAY COVERUP. Burgess should take this to the State Police or the States Attorneys Office. Hypocritical and outrageous conduct by all!
Joan January 13, 2013 at 09:51 PM
CAN YOU SAY COVERUP. Sen Myers and the retired policeman violated the law. The weapon was functional. If it had bbs it could of fired them. Burgess would of been dragged away in handcuffs if he tried this stunt. Burgess should take this to the State Police or States Attorneys office. Ignorance is no excuse under the law ( Myers should know that). Hypocracy at its finest.
Adam January 13, 2013 at 10:04 PM
Yes lets pick and choose who needs to obey our laws...Our laws..that means everyone including reckless politicians trying to prove a point. Is this a stage show, do we really need props? I think everyone gets the idea. Remember a few weeks ago a well known reporter waving a 30rd magazine on television. Come on people..
AMM January 13, 2013 at 10:32 PM
"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." - So everyone was advised at the beginning of the meeting that the BB gun was a prop & would be used. And all the anti-gun control posters keep talking about how "alarmed" everyone was and that Senator Myers caused a "public disturbance". I saw nothing in this article nor heard from any attendees that people were afraid. Mr. Burgess is the one who created this situation not because either Senator Myers or Retired Officer Leary broke a law, but because he disagrees with their position. I agree that he should be billed for all costs associated with this ludicrous complaint.
AMM January 13, 2013 at 10:36 PM
I would also like to know how many of the people commenting about the public panic & saying that Senator Myers & Retired Officer Leary were "waving" the gun around were actually at the event?
AMM January 13, 2013 at 10:36 PM
Susan - were you at the event?
Maureen Bennet January 13, 2013 at 10:53 PM
HERES THE VIDEO of Sen Ed Meyers being investigated for possession of a weapon during his public hearing this Sunday morning http://www.youtube.com/user/PALINSMITH.
Daria Novak January 14, 2013 at 12:16 AM
Why don't people sign here with their full (and real) names? The 2nd Amendment rights of our citizenry is a serious issue and this is a great place for discussion. But, the public would be better served if people used their names..
AMM January 14, 2013 at 12:26 AM
I, honestly, do not use my full name because I do not care to engage on a personal level with many of the people here. If this were an in-person forum, I would gladly state my name, but in this setting, I am not interested. Based on the inflammatory and semi-hysterical comments on this site, I have no interest in letting them have access to my personal information. I always refrain from personal attack & attempt to make reasonable comments. Most here make no effort to maintain any civility.
Maureen Bennet January 14, 2013 at 12:38 AM
Here is an actual photo of the BB Gun being "waved a round" as someone put it. Looks like a weapon being "waved around" in a shameless public stunt to me. http://madison-ct.patch.com/
Maureen Bennet January 14, 2013 at 12:41 AM
Gee how bout an actual photo of the weapon being waved around in a shameless (an illegal) publicity stunt? http://madison-ct.patch.com/
AMM January 14, 2013 at 12:54 AM
The really ridiculous part of this whole argument is that does anyone who doesn't have a "fear of assault weapons" is a fool! I am not anti-gun, but the utter lack of national regulation on assault weapons is ridiculous. As in all polarizing issues, most people fall somewhere in the reasonable middle - not at either extreme. Rather than engaging in a reasonable discussion, those against gun regulations seem to be trying to stir up hysteria.
Maureen Bennet January 14, 2013 at 12:58 AM
LOL, thats precious. Pro gun people are "stirring up hysteria" . I thought Ive heard everything lol.
AMM January 14, 2013 at 01:14 AM
Thanks Maureen, I think you're just precious too.
Jack W. January 14, 2013 at 03:44 AM
I'm mainly a archery bowhunter and don't really have a dog in this fight but I'm with AMM and for moderation, and I think there can be common sense safeguards which do not restrict gun owners unreasonably but I'm losing confidence in Meyers. Wasn't he aware of the NBC David Gregory incident with the high capacity magazine in Wash DC? Maybe Meyers was aware of it but figured he is above the law like Gregory. Who are the firearms specialists he consulted with? The retired cop with the anti gun agenda? Meyers had an opportunity to hold an honest discussion and win over some undecideds, but instead he held an anti gun rally with a miscalculated prop stunt that gave ammunition to the NRA types, no pun intended. At least his stunt did not result in the death of a federal agent a la Fast & Furious. Let's all be reasonable. How about a higher level of license , vetting and testing for certain types of firearms, just as a commercial driver's license is required for bus and hazardous material tanker drivers compared to regular passenger vehicles? Why not armed guards at schools? We have them in banks and airports. Everyone needs to calm down and avoid the extreme. But allowing only single shot guns? That's like restricting motor vehicles to bicycles since bikes are less deadly. We need smart gun legislation not emotional legislation. Ed Meyers seems to be getting extreme.
Monica Hohlfelder January 14, 2013 at 10:35 PM
I was at the open forum and what I found most disturbing was how the police officer tried to suggest the semi-auto (aka assault weapon) had the same firing abilities as the fully-automatic (aka machine gun). The misleading presentation and lack of serious consideration to locking and securing our schools worries me. I am also concerned by his remark "...we have no need to defend ourselves". That is crazy talk. Senator Meyer quoted a $1,000,000 expense as reason we could not lock our schools. I say we keep it on the table, consider modifications of the idea, reallocate funding from the educational budget to make it happen. Disarming the good guy is not protecting our most precious, helpless citizens. Disarming the good guy only empowers the evil and sick.
Arbie January 14, 2013 at 11:27 PM
Here for those that don't know better - get a quick education on what a so called assault weapon is. http://authentic-connecticut-republican.blogspot.com/2013/01/this-is-ar-15-rifle.html
AMM January 14, 2013 at 11:53 PM
Monica, thank you so much for delivering a 1st person report on the meeting. I don't think unfettered access to firearms is a right, but again I am not anti-gun. I agree that there needs to be a lot more focus on school security and wish that someone would hold a public forum on the sorry state of mental health care in our country. Again, I am so glad to hear the opinion of someone who was there.
AMM January 14, 2013 at 11:56 PM
Great points, well made & absolutely reasonable! I agree Jack, neither extreme will solve our problems - there is a moderate solution. Maybe people don't like that because it isn't as simple as no restrictions OR as simple as ban everything.
teresa miller January 14, 2013 at 11:59 PM
Im upset because Sen Meyers wants to turn my husband whose never done a criminal thing in his life into a felon because he has double barrel and semi automatic duck guns. Is this really America? This is really outrageous what is happening in this state, these law abiding gun owners and hunters never bothered anyone yet there being treated like their seriel killers. Its like a Salem Witch Hunt. Disgusting., including most of the media that fuels it. Arent their any politicians with a sense of fairness?
teresa miller January 15, 2013 at 12:15 AM
PS, Miller isnt really my last name so any would be thieves or burglars dont bother LOL.
Stan January 15, 2013 at 07:42 AM
I am heartened and encouraged that so many ladies are pro second amendment. Women who are so often the victims of crime and must have the right to self defense. More power to you ladies! Please continue to express your views and concerns, you lend great credibility to the cause. Meyer asserts that there are no precedent incidents of armed self defense in CT which might justify armed home owners (according to the "numerous" cops he has spoken to). Did he ask the Cheshire detectives or State Police officers who investigated the Cheshire home invasion? Could a legally owned firearm have made a difference? I say to you a tripod mounted belt fed heavy machine gun would have been justifiable in that incident. Ed Meyers has lost it.


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