There has been a spate of apparent Aurora copycat attempts (or interpreted attempts) in the few weeks since the shooting, and the latest is too close to home not to note here. According to the New York Post, a 46-year-old man was arrested last night at a New Haven movie theater (Criterion-Bow Tie Cinemas, a few blocks from Yale) for carrying a loaded handgun into the theater. He seems to have resisted arrest, though he did have a permit for the gun and his intentions are unclear:
Officers arrived at the Criterion-Bow Tie Cinemas shortly after 10 p.m. Tuesday after managers reported a man inside with a gun. It wasn’t clear whether the call was about Hwang or someone else.
About a dozen people were inside waiting for the movie to begin, police said. Officers asked each of them to raise their hands and file out, where they were patted down, according to a news release.
Hwang remained in his seat using his cellphone, police said. Police said he refused to put his hands up and was taken into custody by force. The gun was found in his waistband near the small of his back, police said.
There’s no indication that Hwang threatened anyone, so should he have been arrested? The New Haven Register notes that Hwang was charged with “breach of peace and interfering with police,” but not with any weapon violation. Had he raised his hands when police confronted him, an officer suggested, the arrest would have been avoided and “maybe he would have been counseled on how to better conceal his weapon while attending a ‘Dark Knight’ movie.”
As for the “copycat” arrests—they may lessen your faith in humanity, but they could also bolster your faith in law enforcement. A Maryland man, wearing a shirt proclaiming “Guns don’t kill people, I do,” was arrested at his home, where police found 25 guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition. In LA, a man was arrested for demanding “Does anyone have a gun?” during a screening of the film. In New York, NYPD subpoenaed Twitter for information on a user who leveled threats at a Broadway theater and tweeted “i’m serious, people are gonna die like aurora.” And, in the “close call” category, a 37-year-old Ohio man was taken into custody after bringing a satchel containing a loaded 9mm Glock handgun, two additional loaded magazines, and two knives into a theater. At his home were eight rifles, handguns, gas masks, and bulletproof vests. His lawyer says it was simply to protect himself. Because, you know, people often stockpile handguns, rifles, knives, and gas masks for self-defense, right?