Capitol Police eject woman during gun hearing

March 11, 2019

HARTFORD — A woman was removed from a public hearing on gun legislation Monday morning after writing a in a text message that she would like to shoot a state senator.

The woman, whose name was being withheld by Capitol Police, wrote “If I had a gun, I’d blow away [state Sen. Rob] Sampson and a large group of NRA...”

A person nearby snapped a photo of the text message.

Sampson, a Republican from Wolcott, is an outspoken gun-rights supporter, who questioned people who testified during a hearing in the State Capitol complex on safe storage of guns, ghost guns and carry permits.

After a complaint was made to Capitol Police, the woman was escorted from the hearing room and asked to leave the building for the day, said Walter Lee Jr., chief of the Capitol Police.

“She left without incident,” said Lee.

The woman was not arrested because her behavior did not violate the state statute on threatening behavior, said Lee. But police were continuing to investigate.

Sampson found out about the message when someone texted him about it. “Sad to say it’s not the first time I’ve been threatened in this job,” Sampson said.

The Capitol Police frequently intervene during heated public hearings, said Lee. “I’ve been here twenty years and we have had multiple incidents like that,” he said.

Also during the hearing, Jeremy Stein, executive director of CT Against Gun Violence, brought in a piece of a firearm, which somehow made it through a security check at the entrance of the Legislative Office Building.

“I have the feeling it never should have come in,” said state Sen. Gary Winfield, D-New Haven, co-chairman of the committee. Rules on public-hearing testimony prohibit the use of props.

emunson@hearstmediact.com; Twitter: @emiliemunson