COULD IT BE..... ?? No,
certainly not conscience, for they have forsaken that quality in favor of
payola, power, perks and dues owed to the brotherhood. In fact,
it appears they have forsaken that quality in exchange for their
souls. Hmmm... Are we getting nervous?
Judges With GUNS
Proposed law gives jurists special rights to carry concealed weapons
By Jon E. Dougherty
An obscure measure in a new federal court "housekeeping" bill would
allow federal judges to carry concealed weapons virtually
anywhere, particularly while in court, but also while traveling
-- regardless of concealed-carry laws in specific states.
Rep. Howard Coble, an eight-term North Carolina Republican who sits on the
House Judiciary Committee, introduced the bill, HR 1752, called the "Federal
Courts Improvement Act of 1999," in the House on May 11, 1999. Co-sponsored
by Rep. Howard L. Berman, D-Calif., the measure, if passed, would take
effect one year later.
Specifically, the bill seeks to add a new section to Chapter 21, Title 28
of the United States Code, as follows:
"A judicial officer of the United States is authorized to carry a
firearm, whether concealed or not, under regulations promulgated by the Judicial
Conference of the United States. The authority granted by this section shall
extend only to
(1) those states in which the carrying of firearms by judicial officers
of the state is permitted by state law, or
(2) regardless of state law, to any place where the judicial officer
of the United States sits, resides, or is present on official travel
A spokesman for the House Judiciary Committee told WorldNetDaily the bill
was moved out of committee last September and has been placed on the House
"Union Calendar" -- meaning it is now up to the House leadership to decide
if and when to put it up for a full vote.
A congressional spokesman from Coble's office didn't know whether the bill
had been scheduled yet for a floor vote. Other House leadership members were
unavailable for comment due to congressional recess.
Currently, the U.S. Marshal's Service is tasked with providing armed protection
for all federal judges and officers of the federal court system.
However, an increasing number of federal judges say they are interested
in helping provide for their own safety and have expressed their
desire to become exempt from many federal and state firearms laws that affect
ordinary citizens, according to a Jan. 14 report in the Law News Network,
an online journal that covers legal issues.
U.S. District Senior Judge Norman Roettger told the Internet-based
legal news service that although "U.S. Marshals haven't lost anybody
they had under their protection, ... even so you always have a perhaps
disquieting feeling that in the long run you are the first line of your own
The trend toward armed jurists has already begun, however. Last
June, U.S. District Judge Harvey Schlesinger of Jacksonville, Florida
told a subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee, "Many federal
judicial officers currently carry concealed firearms because of safety
And, because there are enough federal judges who want to carry concealed
guns, the U.S. Judicial Conference -- an organization that speaks for the
nation's federal bench -- is asking Congress to free them from having to
comply with state and local gun laws and regulations. Instead, the judges
would come up with their own firearm rules.
Jurists carrying guns into their own courts is nothing new. In 1982,
Broward County, Florida Circuit Judge Thomas Coker made headlines across
the country when he was photographed, while robed and on the bench, flashing
a revolver after being attacked by an unruly defendant. And, in 1992, Broward
Circuit Judge J. Leonard Fleet gained attention when he displayed his .38-caliber
revolver to another threatening defendant, assuring the suspect that "I don't
According to the Law News Network, the Marshal's Service
does not track how many judges currently carry concealed weapons inside
"But, courthouses are the judges' areas and they make the rules
for themselves," said Marshal's Service spokesman William Licatovich.
Some states, like Florida, have already exempted by state law the
carrying of concealed weapons by judges. Under Coble's bill, judges would
not only be granted new federal rights, but could also carry their guns anywhere
in the country, regardless of local or state ordinances.
That provision is the envy of concealed carry advocates everywhere who are,
in some circles, trying to lobby federal lawmakers to permit civilians with
gun permits in one state also be allowed to travel with their concealed weapons
to other states -- even if that state has no concealed carry law. Supporters
of this measure have said the federal government should honor the Constitution's
provision requiring states to recognize licensures and official certificates
of other states, as in marriage.
In order for judges to qualify under Coble's measure, judges would first
be tested on their proficiency with the weapon. The Justice Department would
be responsible for "developing and providing training to assist judicial
officers in securing the proficiency" required to carry a gun and the
law would be extended to former federal judges who have retired from
The measure would apply to all federal justices, including bankruptcy judges,
federal claims court judges and those in the U.S. Virgin Islands and the
Northern Mariana Islands. Part-time judges would also benefit from the
The most important prohibition in the measure would forbid judges from carrying
a concealed gun on "an aircraft or other common carrier," such as a bus or
Currently, federal law forbids citizens from carrying a weapon inside a courtroom
-- federal or otherwise -- and the new measure would not change that.
After speaking to press officials at Handgun Control, Inc.,
WorldNetDaily faxed them a summary of the new measure, seeking comment on
how arming judges fit in with the group's stated goal of opposing all civilian
concealed carry laws.
No reply was forthcoming.
Daniel Schultz, co-founder and former president of the Lawyer's
Second Amendment Society, said he sees obvious discrepancies -- and a healthy
dose of hypocrisy -- in the bill.
"On its face, it's just another bill designed to place federal officials
above the 'little people,'" Schultz told WorldNetDaily. "How can a federal
judge carrying a concealed weapon make a ruling in a gun case against some
guy who didn't have a permit but was trying to protect himself -- just like
the judge -- under the guise of the Second Amendment?"
If the bill passes as is, Schultz said, it would be difficult to enforce
in places like the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which -- in
a recent gun case handled by the Lawyer's Second Amendment Society --
ruled that there is no inherent right of an individual to "keep and
"If that's true," Schultz said, "how would the court justify the carrying
of concealed weapons by individual judges in its own courtrooms?"
When contacted about the new measure, Schulz told WND his thoughts immediately
turned to the National Zoo shooting in Washington, D.C. last weekend.
"Why would judges in D.C. have a need to carry a weapon, because, after all,
in the District handguns are outlawed and nobody has them -- right?" he
"The number of ordinary citizens who are slaughtered every year by
armed criminals far outweighs the number of judges who suffer similar
fates," said Brian Puckett, president and founder of Citizens of
America, a California-based gun-rights group. "It looks again as though federal
lawmakers are attempting to carve out another class of 'official armed elite.'"
Noting that the new bill seems to indicate that "ordinary citizens lives
aren't as worthy of saving," Puckett aid the federal government seems to
"work endlessly to disarm you and me while they pass more laws allowing
themselves to be elevated to the status of 'super citizens.'"