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Guns... or Not?

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
© 2000 WorldNetDaily.com

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 status."

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 defense."

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 concerns."

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 miss."

According to the Law News Network, the Marshal's Service does not track how many judges currently carry concealed weapons inside courtrooms.

"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 service.

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 measure.

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 train.

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 bear arms."

"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 said.

"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.'"

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