Arrested Middletown mother had her pistol permit denied by police

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The following photo of Tawana Bourne was provided by the Middletown Police Department. The following photo of Tawana Bourne was provided by the Middletown Police Department.

A Middletown mother, who was arrested after pulling out a gun at another mom at a Chuck E. Cheese's last week, had her request for a pistol permit denied by police.

However, that decision was overturned by a Connecticut Appeals Board.

On Feb. 4, Tawana Bourne, 30, was arrested  after allegedly pulling out a 380 semi-automatic handgun and chambered a round during a fight with another parent in front of children at the Newington Chuck E. Cheese's. No shots were fired during the incident and no one was seriously injured.

It is still unclear what the fight was about.

Bourne did possess a valid state of Connecticut pistol permit, which along with the handgun was seized from her after the arrest.

In 2009, the Middletown Police Department denied Bourne's pistol permit application. Her arrests in 2001, 2003 and 2004 as well as two convictions were part of the reason for the denial.

"That was the basis for the denial along with some other arrests within our town, two times we had to commit her to the hospital for a mental evaluation," said Middletown Police Department Lt. Heather Desmond at the hearing of the Connecticut Board of Firearms Permit Examiners on Sept. 9, 2010. "And she displayed knives during those interactions to family members, and at one point, a family member applied for a restraining order against her."

Bourne also attended the meeting and explained her side of the story.

"Those were at a time in my life when I was young, immature, broken on the inside and addicted to crack cocaine," she said. "I'm seven years clean now and I don't have any violent records or any violent crimes on my record."

After Bourne told the Connecticut Board of Firearms Permit Examiners that she turned her life around, the members voted unanimously to overturn the Middletown Police Department's denial and give her the permit.

"I think the full record of the case presented attends to show that Ms. Bourne is a suitable person," one board member told Eyewitness News on Thursday.

At first, retired Chief T. William Knapp, who is a member of the Connecticut Board of Firearms Permit Examiners, said "no recollection" about the case involving Bourne. He told Eyewitness News that he "remembers cases from a month ago."

"She must have made a rather compelling case," Knapp said.

For the Chuck E. Cheese's incident, Bourne was charged with breach of peace, three counts of risk of injury to a minor, threatening and reckless endangerment. She was released on $50,000 bond and was given a court date of Feb. 19.

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