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By Jim Hooley

A man who was arrested after carrying a gun into a movie theater in Thornton defends his decision to take the firearm into the theater.

Jim Mapes has a permit to carry a gun. He had it strapped to his waist so other could see it about a week after 12 people were killed in the movie theater shooting spree in Aurora.

Police arrested him on a misdemeanor charge. They say he was carrying it in a way that caused alarm and fear for others at the Cinebarre Theater.

“I’ve always carried in there, opened or concealed, depends on the time of year,” Mapes said Friday. He criticizes Thornton police for overreacting.

“So where was the problem that they needed to respond in this manner? Just this general perceived thing from the shooting the week before.”

He says that with his concealed carry permit, he was within his rights to carry his gun, a Glock 10 millimeter, inside the theater. “No threats, no shots, no violence. Just a man doing what protected under the Colorado constitution.” 

Mapes was in the same Thornton theater with his gun the night of the shootings in Aurora. He was watching “The Dark Knight Rises.”  He was stopped by police that night, too, but not arrested.

“They had me covered, officers behind and on the sides. 200 people in the parking lot but no screaming, no yelling…no scaring the crap out of everybody.”

He’s owned guns for 20 years and he wishes he was in the Aurora theater on July 20. He believes that if someone else was in the theater with a gun lives would’ve been saved.