On July 21, James Sorensen was arrested by police in Colorado Springs as he was leaving a gay Pride celebration because he had a 40-caliber handgun strapped to his holster.
Sorensen, an Army veteran, was confronted by police as he left Pridefest in Acacia Park, where he was detained and threatened by officers, and then taken to jail. (See video above.)
“This is because I’m gay, isn’t it? I’m gay and I’m carrying a weapon,” Sorensen said during the incident. “You wanted to tase me because I wasn’t going to give you my identification, and then you were going to arrest me for not giving you my ID, which I have no reason to give you my ID, but I did because I don’t want this to go on. I want to go home!”
As the Colorado Springs Gazette explains, carrying weapons in public is legal in the Centennial State. But it doesn’t sound like Sorensen was being very cooperative.
“Put your hands in the air,” the officer demands for a second time.
“Negative, sergeant,” says Sorensen.
“You’re about to get the [expletive] kicked out of you,” the sergeant says.
Even a police spokesperson admitted, “He was right and we were in the wrong, definitely.”
Colorado Springs mayor Steve Bach said he was “disturbed” by the situation: “How in the world could they not have a current cheat sheet? It’s totally unacceptable. I will get to the bottom of it and there will be consequences.”
In an editorial, the Gazette came out on Sorensen’s side and chastened the officers for not knowing of the current gun laws in their jurisdiction: “Sorensen is due an unqualified and heartfelt apology from all who are directly responsible for his arrest.”
We don’t know about all that. Yes, the officers in question overreacted, but seeing a man walking around a gay Pride celebration with a gun merits at least an investigation, whether or not Coloradans can carry weapons or not. And we’re a little surprised that the Gazette would be so brazenly pro-Second Amendment just weeks after the tragic massacre in Aurora. Whether or not private citizens have some right to bear arms doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be hurdles to packing heat in public.
But this raises an interesting issue: So often we assume that all LGBT people fall into one monolith political bloc—that we’re all pro-choice, anti-fracking, pro-gun control, pro-immigration reform, etc. But though most (and not even all) of us vote Democrat, doesn’t mean things line up that neatly.
How do you feel about what happened to Sorensen? Do gays in unwelcome territories—lets not forget Colorado Springs is Ted Haggard’s back yard—need guns to protect themselves from bashing? Or is arming everyone just ensuring there’ll be a gunfight?
Take your shot in the comments section.