Oklahoma City, OK 73105
For Immediate Release:
February 6, 2007
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
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