Guilford Police Called To Church After Gun Rights Activist Lodges Complaint Against Sen. Meyer

Gun rights activist from North Branford calls police, demands investigation after Meyer and retired police officer use BB gun to illustrate points during gun control discussion at church.


Here's an update as of 3:15pm, Sunday January 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

Following Senator Meyer's Forum on Gun Control legislation at the First Congregational Church, 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, the man who issued the complaint, both Meyer and Leary were in violation of a 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 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," said Burgess. "The Senator should have known better, these are the laws he helped to make."

Burgess is the president of Connecticut Carry, a non-profit 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 Senator Meyer, the BB gun was disabled and church leader Craig Mullet, who organized the meeting, was aware it would be there, a fact 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.

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.

"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. 

Pem McNerney contributed to this story.

Pete January 13, 2013 at 08:48 PM
Private property, unloaded gun with no ammo on the property along with consent to have the BB gun there. The person making the complaint should be fined for a false statement and wasting Police time. Next up will be the civil suit against the person making the complaint.
Big K January 13, 2013 at 09:04 PM
This sounds like Richard Burgess has a Big chip on his shoulder and want' to make trouble. Could this be Political??
Jay January 14, 2013 at 12:41 AM
every hack politician and wanna be hero is jumping on the gun wagon. Little problem bright boys - there are tens of thousands out there already and you have no way of getting at them. Maybe in a hundred years they will filter out but not by your hands. If you are serious you should concentrate on the real source - mental cases and their enablers...
zygote1331 January 14, 2013 at 05:09 PM
So what I want to know from Mr. Burgess (who is Richard Burgess is masquerading as a "journalist" with a fake Press pass) and his gun toting cohorts is this: if you are not allowed to brandish a BB gun in a private place with prior notice to the group, then the next logical question is how is WalMart able to sell this? And then the followup question is why are we allowing real assault weapons to be bought by just about anyone? Burgess' comment that "this was meant to create fear of an assault weapon and to stir up hysteria about this issue." is patently absurd. Is the "hysteria" that he refers to the 26 dead in Sandy Hook? These weapons have no place in a civilized society. They sole intent is do do damage. We should be afraid of assault weapons and the multiple clips that they carry. Who do you intend to use that against sir?
Jim Braun January 15, 2013 at 12:44 AM
OK so I clicked on one of the links and am trying to put two and two together. According to the person that lodged the complaint, a state senator and a retired police officer cannot use a disabled BB gun in a presentation on private property where they were invited to do so, but he can walk into a pool hall with an unconcealed handgun on his hip under the laws as currently written in Connecticut. The only thing I got from this article and the links is that our legislators at a very minimum have to reevaluate already existing laws.


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