- Jul 11, 2003
Can't believe I'm starting a gun thread. Should police have responded to the call regardless of open carry laws?
Minutes before 33-year-old Noah Harpham began a shooting rampage Saturday in Colorado Springs that would leave four dead, his neighbor spotted the tall, lanky man standing outside with a rifle.
Naomi Bettis said she called 911 to report Harpham, but a dispatcher explained that Colorado has an open carry law that allows public handling of firearms. Bettis was perturbed by the call taker's response, which she feels could have prevented catastrophe.
"He did have a distraught look on his face," Bettis said of Harpham. "It looked like he had a rough couple days or so."
Colorado's open carry law has taken a central focus in the slayings' aftermath, with scores using social media to call the police department's apparent lack of immediate response to Bettis' 911 call into question.
Police agencies across the state say the statute poses a difficult question of how to react when citizens call — frequently — to report an armed person in public. The response, law enforcement says, is based on circumstances.