Courthouses after hours

This is a discussion on Courthouses after hours within the Carry & Defensive Scenarios forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I am the maintenance director for a Texas county. I close down the county courthouse after business hours and sometimes have to enter the courthouse ...

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Thread: Courthouses after hours

  1. #1
    Member Array goldandwhite's Avatar
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    Courthouses after hours

    I am the maintenance director for a Texas county. I close down the county courthouse after business hours and sometimes have to enter the courthouse on the weekend or late at night and early in the morning for maintenance related issues. Am I still banned from taking my concealed weapon into the building? I feel like a sitting duck when I close the building each evening, knowing there are literally dozens of places an intruder could be hiding that could have come in while the building was open to the public. Is there a county official or law officer that I could could get permission to carry a weapon after hours in the courthouse?

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Check TX DPS / Concealed Handgun Licensing Program.

    Specifically, among all the relevant CHL and firearms statutes, check TX PC 46.03. PLACES WEAPONS PROHIBITED:

    Quote Originally Posted by TX PC 46.03. PLACES WEAPONS PROHIBITED
    (a) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly possesses or goes with a firearm, illegal knife, club, or prohibited weapon listed in Section 46.05(a):

    1. on the physical premises of a school or educational institution, any grounds or building on which an activity sponsored by a school or educational institution is being conducted, or a passenger transportation vehicle of a school or educational institution, whether the school or educational institution is public or private, unless pursuant to written regulations or written authorization of the institution;
    2. on the premises of a polling place on the day of an election or while early voting is in progress;
    3. on the premises of any government court or offices utilized by the court, unless pursuant to written regulations or written authorization of the court;
      ...
    Per that statute, you could check with the county courts to see if they issue such authorizations in cases such as yours. Worth a shot. Otherwise, it seems clearly verboten to be carrying there.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
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    Distinguished Member Array Stetson's Avatar
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    Talk to sitting Judge.I too did same thing for county.we had sitting Supreme Judge and at least one sittingSuperior Court Judge,often visiting Judge.Then talk to County Commisioners.If you truly are the last one in the building I'd stash my piece in
    a safe place in my desk and tell no one.Your life worth more than a job. I can't tell you what to do but I'd put it in my truck.
    I live in Maine and a law that say it's legal for employee can keep a loaded firearm in their vehicle as long as they have a permit. I've keep my mouth shut before the law at my previous employer because there's a large population of international students who come here pennlies and leave with education that would cost you and me over $250,000;with none of their own money!! Good luck and if you go public let us know the outcome.
    NONAME762 likes this.

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    As ccw9mm said, unless you can get special permission, you out of luck.
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    Member Array JasonJ's Avatar
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    however it seems a case where if asked for permission due to the situation, I would bet that special permission would be given.

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    Member Array goldandwhite's Avatar
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    Thanks for the input. I really enjoy this site.

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    VIP Member Array farronwolf's Avatar
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    ccw9mm was spot on. If the permission is granted, you are good to go. If not, you are risking a serious penalty if caught.
    Just remember that shot placement is much more important with what you carry than how big a bang you get with each trigger pull.
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    Senior Member Array KBSR's Avatar
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    I can relate a somewhat related story, to support the advice you've had here.

    Back in the late 80's I was a U.S. Customs Special Agent, and the case agent involving the prosecution of a drug smuggling organization that included some really BAD men. As the case agent, I was responsible for assisting the Assistant United States Attorney with the prosecution of the case; keeping the evidence in order for presentation, keeping the witnesses ready to testify, etc...My job entailed sitting at the prosecution table with the AUSA, along with two other agents from other law enforcement agencies (DEA & Alabama State Police).

    During an in camera (judges chambers) conference, the Senior Federal Judge mentioned that he was a bit fearful of these guys, but that he felt better knowing that myself and two other Agents were sitting in the courtroom at all times. We told the Judge that according to the rules of the Federal Courthouse, we weren't allowed to carry our weapons in the building, and that the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) provided the protection for the court. All law enforcement had to surrender their weapons on entry to the building, placing them in lock boxes at the door.

    The Judge said "The hell with that!!! You will carry your firearms in my court damn it!" Haha He issued instructions to the U.S.M.S. that for the duration of that trial, we would be armed. The USMS didn't much care for it, but a Federal Judge is a lot like God, so they couldn't do anything about it, and we were armed every day in his courtroom and in the courthouse for the next three weeks.

    I'd recommend you visit with the senior judge in your courthouse, and get his blessing. Once you have that, you're golden. Be safe.
    BenGoodLuck, pignut and NONAME762 like this.
    " But if you are authorized to carry a weapon, and you walk outside without it, just take a deep breath, and say this to yourself... Baa." Col. Dave Grossman on Sheep and Sheepdogs.

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    Distinguished Member Array Exacto's Avatar
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    I don't know if anyone could give you permission to go around the law. In general ,it's a no no. And I doubt that there is a provision in the law for after hours. Think of what could happen. If someone were so inclined they could leave a weapon in the courthouse for someone to retrieve the next day.
    Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunder bolt...... Sun Tzu.

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Exacto View Post
    Think of what could happen. If someone were so inclined they could leave a weapon in the courthouse for someone to retrieve the next day.
    Meh.

    That can happen on any street in the country, now. All it takes is a willingness to be a criminal and to execute on that willingness.

    In that sense, in a "government" building it's no more or less risky than anyplace else. And short of such a building having full-body screening for everyone into "secure" areas, it's no more secure than anywhere else already.

    If we were a society with an overall carrying rate north of 50%, and if we did away with all the silly location/venue restrictions, we'd get back to the simple reality of outright violence on the part of criminals being highly likely to result in getting quickly taken down and dragged into the alley for the rats to munch on. In many ways, I think we'd all be better off. "People's" building or not.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
    NRA, SAF, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.

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    Member Array goldandwhite's Avatar
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    Exacto, I could do that anyway, having a key to every building. On the other hand I was in the courts building until 11:30 pm while a cleaning contractor was there, with four cleaning techs and myself the only people in the entire building. We couldn't close and lock the door because of the cleaning hoses coming into the building. We were sitting ducks for any one who wanted to walk in off the street during the time we were there. There were no court proceedings being held, or even any government employees present (except me). Why should I be deprived of the ability to defend myself under those circumstances?

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    Member Array goldandwhite's Avatar
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    Since there is no definitive procedure in receiving permission to carry after hours at work, I've pretty well decided that the only way any one would even know I was armed after hours would be if I actually had to defend myself. I would rather be alive and in trouble over the clarification of a law than be dead or injured. I'm just going to keep the fact that I am armed after hours to myself and be as discreet as possible with it. Thanks for the input from all of you.

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    Member Array shadow247's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by goldandwhite View Post
    Since there is no definitive procedure in receiving permission to carry after hours at work, I've pretty well decided that the only way any one would even know I was armed after hours would be if I actually had to defend myself. I would rather be alive and in trouble over the clarification of a law than be dead or injured. I'm just going to keep the fact that I am armed after hours to myself and be as discreet as possible with it. Thanks for the input from all of you.
    I think you're on the right track here. It seems highly unlikely that anyone would show up and search you while performing your duties, so the only reason for anyone to know you have a firearm is if you have to use it to defend yourself.

    I'd say this falls under the doctrine of "Better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6."
    Truth is treason in an empire of lies - Ron Paul
    No b@stard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb b@stard die for his country. - General George S. Patton

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    Talk to a Judge. They may well understand and empathize given your hours and the situation. As we all know, here on DC one would never admit to an illegal act.
    pignut likes this.

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    Ex Member Array gunslingergirl's Avatar
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    I have a similar problem. I work in low income housing - that means evicting or getting judgements against gang members, drug dealers, and people who sometimes have a violent history.

    When I go to the courthouse I have to disarm, this leaves me highly vulnerable right at the point where people are emotional and dangerous after they lose the hearing and know they are getting kicked out. I have to have an armed employee stand by outside the courthouse with my guns, otherwise I'd have to walk to my car completely wide open to attack.

    Our courthouse doesn't provide lockers, even though they are supposed to.

    Sadly it's looking like our firearm laws are about to get a lot stupider.

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