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.
Eric in Chicago
Straight Republicans versus Gay Republicans – let them shoot it out. I could care less.
I am gay and carry a gun. I have all the appropriate permits and if the police tried to take mine away after I had already showed them my ID, I would get Belligerent as well.
There has been to much hate and violence directed against the LGBT community, much of it by those that are supposed to protect us not to be able to defend yourself at all times.
Well, seeing as a gay guy just shot someone at the FRC building…
Mr. Enemabag Jones
This is the greatest fear of anti-gay bigots–that LGBTQ Americans will learn how to carry guns, and defend ourselves.
Teabaggers show up at rallies carrying guns illegally, threatening the president and are permitted to do so. A queer citizen is carrying a gun legally, and threatening no one, and he’s harassed.
Im a pistol-packing-Queer and I wholly support the right to bear arms.
I say fuck anyone, gay/straight/black/white/purple, who thinks that right should be recinded for all.
I wonder what the statistics are of people who are violently gay-bashed, or raped, etc. obtaining a pistol permit AND possession of a firearm after the fact. I bet its pretty damn high, and I bet they wouldnt hesitate to use it in a future event.
Love my .357 🙂
This is easy; Being gay had nothing to do with being detained.
Being at a gay event or any public event with a weapon will catch a cops attention.
The last two paragraphs of this post are cheap bait for lemmings.
I am gay, I am voting for Obama and I have guns. I have a right to own firearms. It is possible to vote democrat and be pro second amendment.
What an idiot queen, why does he play the professional victim role and say “I’m being arrested because I’m gay!” I agree with clockwork he was arrested because he had a gun.
Gay or not, I don’t want anyone carrying around a gun in public, especially at events where there is alchohol and emotions run high.
As for getting angry at the cops. Ya… cops are dumb and either don’t know the laws or enforce them the way they feel like.
@Chuck: Did they confirm that he was gay?
@Chuck: Where’s your evidence it was a gay guy?
If it was legal to carry a fire arm he shouldn’t have been arrested for it. If the police arrested him because he was at a pride rally with a firearm doesn’t that beg the question as to how much stereotype plays into the decisions law enforcement make when dealing with the gay community?
So many issues seem to come down to whether you support the 1st amendment or the 2nd, but not both — and it’s kind of crazy. If you’re anti-gun and want to challenge the 2nd amendment, then how can you expect people to respect the 1st? And if you don’t respect the division of church & state, then why should you have some “constitutional” right to bear arms? Anyway, it’s a dumb question: if he didn’t break the law, he shouldn’t have been arrested. 99.99% of gun owners are law-abiding citizens glad for and proud of No. 2, and they should have their right to pack heat if they want. If you don’t like that, then find another fight. But hey — all you gun-toters, keep church and state apart, please!
If the queer nation gets a reputation for packing heat, we will not get bashed as often as we do.
Do your part. If your state has open carry laws, use it. If your state only allows carry conceal, then get your permit.
Train, practice, be safe. Do not be anouther statistic!
Now they are forced to defend gays to carry weapons.
I’d rather that they don’t allow concealed weapons but if they do, they should know that gays can carry weapons as well.
I wonder if they will change the gun laws or be forced to work tougher crowds and situations like this. I bet they’d do the former. Amendment 2 is too powerful to be sidetracked by gay issues.
I can do no more than echo many of the sentiments posted here already, but as a gay man who is solidly in favor of individual gun rights, the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America, I have said for many years, that gay & lesbian folks need to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights. Look at all of us who are beat up, houses burned down, and violated in so many felonious ways. What gay person in their right mind would want to GIVE UP their right to bear arms, as guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment??? It just makes no sense. This is a big country, lots of gay folks live in rural areas of States that are not popular with the LGBT Media folks, most of us don’t live in New York City, where owning a gun, much less carrying one, seems preposterous. Make no mistake, we need to use the laws that are ALREADY ON THE BOOKS, to protect ourselves, our families, from those who would deprive us of life and liberty.
Colorado? What else do you expect?
You can bet your last nickle they don’t want what few blacks who are unlucky enough to live there carrying guns either. Homophobia and racism go hand in hand. There is nothing in this country more democratic then prejudice.
@Chuck: And what about the thousands of “straight’ people that shoot others every day?
Does that mean that every “straight” person should automatically be stopped and arrested for legally carrying a firearm too, even though they are minding their own business just like this man was?
I am a gay man, a gun owner, a concealed permit carrier and a Minister.
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