In May 2010, Richard Burgess was arrested after walking into a Wallingford, Connecticut pool hall with a Glock 23 on his hip, even though the state of Connecticut does not bar the open carry of firearms.
The charges against him were dropped. Afterward, CT News Junkie reported Burgess filed suit against “the town, five members of the [police] department, and a bail bondsman who was at [the pool hall]… and called the police” on Burgess.
Since then, a Connecticut federal judge dismissed Burgess’s suit, and this month “the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit” upheld the dismissal.
According to CTLawTribune.com, the Second Circuit ruled that police officers “had governmental immunity from such claims.”
The lawyer for the town of Wallingford reacted by expressing his approval of the court’s willingness to support police in making arrests even where no law is broken:
In this day and age people do get worried when they don’t know what someone else’s intentions are… To me it signals that at least in our jurisdiction the courts are willing to support the police who make breach of peach or disorderly conduct arrests when a member of the public becomes alarmed at the sight of another person openly carrying a firearm.
Burgess’ lawyer Rachel Baird does not agree. She said, “Legal conduct cannot be established by what people are alarmed or annoyed by. What you basically have in Connecticut is something that’s legal and not prohibited, but it is prohibited by the courts.”
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.