Some Talking Points on Firearms in the Courthouse
March 9, 2016 § 12 Comments
- Security is a site-specific issue. Minimum security standards will always be governed by design, traffic, and countless other considerations specific to the site. Questions of the reasonableness of any particular security measure are not capable of being codified on a uniform basis and are best left to those who are charged with the protection of the courthouse and the conduct of proceedings in the courthouse.
- There are many good reasons for banning weapons in courthouse parking lots. In many counties, state inmates and county prisoners are transported by vans, by the dozens, to public courthouse parking areas and marched into the courtroom. This provides the opportunity for armed people to either assist in escape or exact vengeance if they are allowed to be armed in the parking lot.
- Sheriffs are charged with the safekeeping of prisoners and courthouse property. Judges are charged with the orderly administration of justice. Both should have the tools and flexibility to address situations that may arise.
- Some trial require extraordinary security measures. This bill is a blanket prohibition.
- Participants, including jurors, need to know that they are under the protection of the court the moment they enter court property.
- The legislature and other state offices enjoy point-of-entry security, as they should. County workers deserve the same sort of security in their very volatile workplaces.
- Clerks, deputy clerks, bailiffs, and other courthouse workers are often the intended targets of violent reprisals. The courthouse does not become “safe” merely because courtroom proceedings are not taking place.
- Many offices in the courthouse contain significant amounts of cash and are potential robbery targets.
- Historically, mixing armed citizens and criminal defendants has allowed some terrible things to occur in our state and many others.
- Local officials are elected and empowered to solve local problems. This bill attempts to remove from two other constitutional branches of government the power to carry out their respective duties. The legislature is not well-equipped to devise security measures for the many court facilities in this state.