Sung Hwang, a 46 year old New Haven attorney and President-elect of the New Haven County Bar Association. By all accounts, he is an upstanding citizen. He is also a licensed gun owner. When Mr. Hwang went to a local movie theater, he took his gun along, wearing it visibly, as he is legally allowed to do. Unlike in a previous incident, the theater had no signage or rule prohibiting firearms. Other patrons, disturbed by the sight of the weapon, called police, who arrested Hwang for breach of peace and interfering with police. The police claim that when they approached Hwang with pistols and Tasers drawn, he did not immediately raise his hands. They also suggested that in the future, he ought to keep his weapon concealed.
Hwang wasn’t charged with any weapon violations. His charges stem from his alleged actions — or inaction — after being confronted by police. A police official said that, had Hwang immediately raised his hands when directed by police instead of staying on his cell phone, he likely wouldn’t have been arrested.
Hwang had the gun in a holster in the small of his back. Had it not been visible to the public, the series of events that led up to the dramatic showdown might have been averted, police said.
And had he immediately showed his hands, the official said, criminal charges might have been averted and instead “maybe he would have been counseled on how to better conceal his weapon while attending a ‘Dark Knight’ movie.”
Police Chief Dean Esserman, who was on scene late Tuesday, thanked the citizen who brought his fears to the attention of the manager and for the manager who called 911.
“New Haven police are remarkable,” Esserman said.
“Their response was prompt and it was clear to everyone that I spoke to that their discipline was notable,” Esserman.
It seems strange to suggest that a concealed weapon is less of a danger than a visible one, and counter to laws in many states which require an additional permit to allow for carrying a concealed weapon. If guns are to be legal, and carrying weapons permissible, those carrying guns should not be treated as criminals, nor automatically treated with suspicion. As for Hwang, we hope that these charges are dropped quickly,but suggest that given the current climate, carrying a visible weapon into this particular movie may not have been the best idea.
- Police: Movie Theater Needs Bigger Sign Banning Weapons (givinguptheship.com)