Man Sues After False Arrest for Legally Open Carrying Gun in Connecticut

By AWR Hawkins

Open Carry
Man Sues After False Arrest for Legally Open Carrying Gun in Connecticut
AmmoLand Gun News
AmmoLand Gun News

Washington DC – -(  In May 2010, Richard Burgess was arrested after walking into a Wallingford, Connecticut pool hall with a Glock 23 on his hip, even though the state of Connecticut does not bar the open carry of firearms.

The charges against him were dropped. Afterward, CT News Junkie reported Burgess filed suit against “the town, five members of the [police] department, and a bail bondsman who was at [the pool hall]… and called the police” on Burgess.

Since then, a Connecticut federal judge dismissed Burgess's suit, and this month “the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit” upheld the dismissal.

According to, the Second Circuit ruled that police officers “had governmental immunity from such claims.”

The lawyer for the town of Wallingford reacted by expressing his approval of the court's willingness to support police in making arrests even where no law is broken:

In this day and age people do get worried when they don't know what someone else's intentions are… To me it signals that at least in our jurisdiction the courts are willing to support the police who make breach of peach or disorderly conduct arrests when a member of the public becomes alarmed at the sight of another person openly carrying a firearm.

Burgess' lawyer Rachel Baird does not agree. She said, “Legal conduct cannot be established by what people are alarmed or annoyed by. What you basically have in Connecticut is something that's legal and not prohibited, but it is prohibited by the courts.”

Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins.

AWR Hawkins writes for all the BIG sites, for Pajamas Media, for, for and now AmmoLand Shooting Sports News.

His southern drawl is frequently heard discussing his take on current events on radio shows like America's Morning News, the G. Gordon Liddy Show, the Ken Pittman Show, and the NRA's Cam & Company, among others. He was a Visiting Fellow at the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal (summer 2010), and he holds a PhD in military history from Texas Tech University.

If you have questions or comments, email him at [email protected] You can find him on facebook at

  • 10 thoughts on “Man Sues After False Arrest for Legally Open Carrying Gun in Connecticut

    1. This is yet another example of the government, courts and police not obeying or honoring the Constitutions they swore to uphold and protect.
      This example of constitutional nullification by govt. is exactly why law enforcement all over the nation is running amok. W/O the lawful ability to successfully sue these LEOs, they have nothing to fear and may continue to abuse and kill whomever they choose w/o fear of punishment. Instead they receive a time off with pay vacation, all while Americans suffer the consequences for abiding by the law.

    2. CT police arrests law abiding citizen but if some guy looks like an illegal alien the police are prohibited from asking for ID.

    3. Wouldn’t this cause him to arrest the officers for kidnaping , battery , and several other laws then the courts could be charged with conspiracy to a crime and so fourt might not be able to sue but pressing charges is a way to stir the pot real good but suggest u better move first out of that town or u might be able to get a harassment charge by time it’s all done

    4. Solution is to call the police every time you see government official with a gun and report a man or woman with a gun and is making you nervous and afraid he or she might be dangerous in in fear of your life. be vague about and try to leave out details about the uniform, just describe him as color of kacki pants, and color of button down shirt, leave out details that can identify him as government official or police.

    5. Chief Judge Robert A. Katzmann, Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

      Judge José A. Cabranes, Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

      Judge Reena Raggi, Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

      Chief Judge William M. Skretny, Western District of New York

      Chief Judge Carol B. Amon, Eastern District of New York

      Chief Judge Loretta A. Preska, Southern District of New York

      Judge Dennis Jacobs, Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

      Judge Rosemary S. Pooler, Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

      Chief Judge Janet C. Hall, District of Connecticut

      Judge Richard C. Wesley, Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

      Chief Judge Gary L. Sharpe, Northern District of New York

      Judge Peter W. Hall, Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

      Chief Judge Christina Reiss, District of Vermont

    6. What are the names of those judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit? What are their addresses? Where do their spouses work? What schools do their kids go to?

      “Justice” is a very flexible terminology. It can be had many ways.

    7. It’s called “Railroading” by a corrupt and biased justice system. They simply make up the rules as they go, even if they are wrong or illegal, and they are immune to everything. In the justice system, it will simply be ruled as being a “mistake” and that’s the end of it!

    8. So, police can make arrests even clearly when no law was broken and suffer no consequences?

      Simply standing on a corner with a tattoo could alarm someone and off you go to jail because someone has the jitters?

      See this case in SCOTUS. The courts have ruled in other cases that just because someone is alarmed it is not enough to arrest someone without cause. He may not be able to sue, due to immunity, but seems like the courts should be able rule about the arrest and in that clearly a right was violated.

    9. “[A] right to carry arms openly: “This is the right guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, and which is calculated to incite men to a manly and noble defence of themselves, if necessary, and of their country, without any tendency to secret advantages and unmanly assassinations.”” District of Columbia v. Heller, 128 S. Ct. 2783 – Supreme Court (2008) at 2809.

      “Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited. From Blackstone through the 19th-century cases, commentators and courts routinely explained that the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose. For example, the majority of the 19th-century courts to consider the question held that prohibitions on carrying concealed weapons were lawful under the Second Amendment or state analogues.” District of Columbia v. Heller, 128 S. Ct. 2783 – Supreme Court (2008) at 2816.

      Charles Nichols – President of California Right To Carry

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