A Colorado man was arrested Sunday night for bringing a handgun into a movie theater in Thorton, Colorado, located just 25 minutes from the Aurora theater where James Holmes killed 12 people and injured 58 during a July showing of "The Dark Knight Rises."
James G. Mapes was arrested for bringing a holstered handgun into the Cinebarre Movie Theater in Thornton, Colorado, but he maintains that he was within his rights as he has a concealed-weapons permit, according a Thorton police statement obtained by the Denver Post.
The 48-year-old's permit was to carry a concealed gun in Arapahoe County, which does not include the Thornton theater within its bounds, which casts doubts on that line of legal defense, according to Yahoo! News.
"The subject's possession of the firearm caused alarm to the theater staff and fellow movie patrons," Thornton police said in the release, according to the Post.
James G. Mapes, of Northglenn, Colorado, told the Denver Post via phone on Monday that he has attended films at the theater numerous times while carrying a "full-sized pistol" on his person. But on Sunday he was charged with "possession of a dangerous weapon," according to the Thornton police statement.
"I was a threat to no one, I didn't threaten anybody," told the newspaper. "I've had no problems in the past ... I've never had police take my gun from me in the nine years I've had the permit."
His decision to bring the gun into the theater -- where he bought a ticket to the see the comedy "The Watch" -- attracted police after a theatergoer noticed about 15 minutes into the screening that James Mapes had a gun on him in the theater. Movie complexes across the nation have increased security and diligence about safety in the wake of the Aurora, Colorado, massacre by James Holmes, a fact which likely led to the heightened level of concern about his carrying the weapon in the open carry state.
Mapes said the movie stopped running and the lights came on at 15 minutes into the movie, and the lights came on, when a woman nearby answered a phone call and announced that someone in the theater had a gun on them, to which he tells the Post that he responded, "That's probably me."
He told the newspaper that he then left the theater and turns himself into police when he heard them speaking with customers in the theater's lobby:
"I walked out there and just put my hands out," and he was then arrested, issued a summons and his gun was confiscated as evidence by police, according to the Post.
"This case is under review by our city prosecutor," Matt Barnes, a Thornton Police Department spokesman, said on Monday, according to the Post. "We are an open carry state ... We look at the open carry law and how it relates to this incident. He felt he was exercising his right to bear arms in an open carry state, and we are currently reviewing that with our prosecutors."
James Holmes was charged Monday with 24 counts of first-degree murder, 116 counts of attempted murder, one count of using a deadly weapon in commission of a violent crime and one count of possession of explosive devices in connection with the July 20 shooting spree, according to the Washington Post.
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