Arapahoe-County area District Attorney George Brauchler says he doesn’t care if a business, like a movie theater, bans concealed weapons from the premises.
He’s “happy” to violate the law and bring his concealed weapon into the theater anyway, he told Greeley’s KCOL guest host Karen Kataline Aug. 13.
Brauchler: I’m not a fan of the Gun Free Zones, and in fact, I mean, I will tell you that I violate that all the time. I carry concealed all the time.
Kateline [facetiously]: Don’t admit that, George!
Brauchler: I’m going to admit it – all the time! I feel completely undeterred. And again, someone may say, ‘Oh, you’re violating—.’ No. Listen, I’m going to protect myself where I think it appropriate. Now, if I were [to be] stopped by law enforcement and confronted and have I committed a crime? [I] probably have! [I’m] happy to own that. But I’m not going let someone else disarm me under those circumstances.
Brauchler has bragged about his willingness to flout gun-free zones multiple times in radio interviews, usually pointing to the example of going to the movies with his family.
“It’s tough,” Brauchler said on KNUS following the Las Vegas massacre, when he was asked what citizens can do about mass shootings. “I think there is a combination of things. I mean, I’ll tell you that me, personally, since the Aurora theater case, I have not gone to the movies with my family without me carrying concealed.
“And I’ll plainly concede that there are probably several theaters that have said, ‘You can’t carry concealed here.’ And I have disregarded that, because I am never going to put myself in a position to not have options.”
But this week’s comment was different insofar as he stated directly that he’d be happy to break the law to do so, which is a notable comment from one of Colorado’s top law enforcement officials.
The point I was trying to make was, I am going to try to put myself in a position to protect my kids. And what I should have said was, it’s not a violation of the law for me to do it. And even if some movie theater said not to, I could do it, and I would still do it. If those were the words [“happy” to break the law] at the time, it was an overstatement. It was a mistake.
Asked for an explanation for why he thinks he can choose the laws he wants to abide by–or why he thinks he’d “probably” be breaking the law by carrying his concealed weapon into a gun-free zone–Brauchler told the Colorado Times Recorder: “The point I was trying to make was, I am going to try to put myself in a position to protect my kids. And what I should have said was, it’s not a violation of the law for me to do it. And even if some movie theater said not to, I could do it, and I would still do it. If those were the words [“happy” to break the law] at the time, it was an overstatement. It was a mistake.”
As a district attorney, Brauchler is considered a “peace officer” under Colorado law (§ 16-2.5-132, 16-2.5-101), responsible for law enforcement and authorized to carry a gun while performing their duties. It has not been determined by this reporter whether Brauchler needs to be or is “post-certified,” and therefore allowed to carry a concealed gun anywhere he wants. This may depend on employee guidelines issued by Colorado’s 18th Judicial District or by the Colorado judicial system.
Brauchler doesn’t appear to care what the law is or how it is interpreted, as he’d break the law anyway given — as he puts it — his need to “protect myself where I think it appropriate.”
Brauchler prosecuted the Aurora theater shooter, failing to convince three jurors that he should be put to death. So it’s possible that Brauchler’s willingness to break the law by bringing his gun into a theater is derived from his experience in that horrific case.
The Aurora theater was a gun-free zone, and gun proponents believe lives would have been saved if theater goers were armed.
Gun safety advocates say it’s likely more people would have died in the chaotic crossfire.
Also in his KCOL interview this week, Brauchler defended potential gun safety laws, saying, “I’d like to figure out, do we have the ability to use the law to protect people and at the same time protect the constitution? I think that’s possible. If the answer is, ‘That’s not possible, we could never ever even have a conversation about a law that might somehow have the word ‘firearm’ in it’ – then that is crack smoke crazy!”
But it’s clear Brauchler then for Color won’t obey a law saying he can’t carry his gun into a theater.
On Feb. 12, 2020, this post was updated with a response from Brauchler.