After the fact, Hauer denies a reported gun incident

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Jerome Hauer. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
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State homeland security commissioner Jerome Hauer said on Sunday he never used the laser sight on a handgun as a pointer at a presentation to other officials, saying the incident was mischaracterized in a news report published last month.

The report, published in the Times Union, said Hauer had alarmed three Swedish emergency management officials during an October 24 meeting when he used the sighting device on his handgun to point to a map of New York, in possible violation of state law prohibiting employees from carrying loaded weapons into state office buildings.

Spokesmen for Hauer and the governor's office had declined to answer questions about the incident for weeks before the story was finally published, according to the report by veteran reporter and columnist James Odato.

In an interview with Capital this weekend on a separate topic, Hauer denied the report.

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“This was an unloaded gun because I was taking it to the gun shop to get a different sight on it,” Hauer said.

The commissioner said he never aimed the gun at the Swedish officials’ heads. According to the Times-Union report, "three Swedish emergency managers in the delegation were rattled when the gun's laser tracked across one of their heads before Hauer found the map of New York, at which he wanted to point."

The report also said that Hauer "carries the loaded 9-millimeter Glock in a holster into state buildings, an apparent violation of state law barring state employees from bringing weapons to the workplace, several witnesses say."

Hauer took issue with the account of the incident, and with the specifics about the firearm.

“Even the Swedes said they were never threatened. It was never pointed at them,” he said.

"Those are the facts," Hauer said. "The Swedes wrote to Odato explaining that the gun was never pointed at anyone, that they never felt the least bit concerned and that it was strictly pointed at a wall. I do own a Glock but it is in Virginia. It is too big to carry in a pocket and it has no laser. I have never carried it because of its size. I carry an H&K P 2000. The gun that was in my pocket was an unloaded S&W 9mm. I have permits to carry and received verbal authorization to carry it on state property when I was hired and again many months ago."

"I've carried a firearm for 25 years and had police powers for seven years when I worked for the governor of Indiana. I was trained and qualified by the state police out there," he said.

Odato declined to comment.