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Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, OK 73105

For Immediate Release: February 6, 2007

Senator Brian Crain
Senator Brian Crain

Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Measure to Arm Judges

In an effort to make Oklahoma courtrooms safer, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed a measure Tuesday to allow judges to carry firearms while performing their duties.

Senate Bill 145, authored by Senator Brian Crain, would allow for the carrying or use of weapons in courtrooms by district, associate district and special district judges.

"This measure isn't about just protecting our judges, but everyone in our courtrooms," said Crain, R-Tulsa. "We have to remember that at times some of the most violent offenders are there. Although law enforcement does a great job of keeping things under control most of the time, we've seen how things can go horribly wrong. This is simply another precaution to ensure the safety of everyone in the room."

Crain pointed to a 2005 incident in Georgia where the defendant overpowered the deputy in the courtroom and got the officer's gun endangering the lives of everyone in the courtroom. He also noted an incident in Tulsa where a judge mistakenly thought that a defendant had overpowered a deputy and obtained a gun, so he armed himself.

"Luckily, the Tulsa incident turned out to be nothing but a misunderstanding. But it became a highly controversial issue given that our law doesn't allow for weapons in the courtroom," said Crain. "The same wasn't true in Georgia where a defendant killed three people including a Superior Court Judge, a court reporter and a deputy as he fled from the building. These were senseless deaths that might have been avoided if the judge would have been allowed to arm himself. Violent offenders, for the most part, aren't rational human beings, so it's imperative that we give our judges the right to protect themselves and their courtrooms."

The measure provides that the Administrative Director of the Courts would maintain a list of judges who would fall under the blanket of the new law. An amendment was also approved to require judges to obtain a self-defense license before carrying a concealed weapon into their courtroom.

The measure now proceeds to the full Senate.

For more information contact:
Senator Crain's Office - (405) 521-5620

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