Firearms in courtrooms

This is a discussion on Firearms in courtrooms within the Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I was watching TV this morning, and a question arose. I am well aware of the prohibition to bringing a firearm into a courtroom, and ...

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    VIP Member Array high pockets's Avatar
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    Firearms in courtrooms

    I was watching TV this morning, and a question arose. I am well aware of the prohibition to bringing a firearm into a courtroom, and wonder if that applies to police officers as well as civilians?

    If it does apply to police officers, does it apply only if in civvies? I only ask because I just saw an officer, in uniform, being sworn in, and the officer was fully armed, with firearm, taser and several spare magazines.

    I wonder if this varies by state, or if it is fairly universal. As I recall, when I served on an Alabama jury, ALL uniformed officers removed their gear belts prior to entering the courtroom. I do not know the procedure in Georgia.

    Just wondering....
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    Senior Member Array Landric's Avatar
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    I've been an LEO in several jurisdictions in Virginia and North Carolina. The only time I was required to disarm was in Federal Court in Virginia.
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    I was in the jury pool for a Federal case here in AZ, and with time to kill in my balcony location I was watching people enter the courthouse and pass through security. There was a room off to the side with lockers, and I saw a number of plain-clothes guys step into that room and lock up their sidearms. What surprised me was that even the Federal agents (the FBI guys in my trial) disarmed as well. The courthouse security staff were all plainclothes with blazers, but they looked more like retired LEOs based on appearance.
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    Senior Member Array Chad Rogers's Avatar
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    I have some experience in the courthouses milieu. In several states I worked in uniformed officers were not allowed to take weapons into the courthouse. This is a courtroom/courthouse security issue. I could share some really sad weapons security stories, but won't. Let's just say that I preferred the prohibition on willy nilly weapons carriage in the courthouse environment.
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    Senior Member Array Chad Rogers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gasmitty View Post
    I was in the jury pool for a Federal case here in AZ, and with time to kill in my balcony location I was watching people enter the courthouse and pass through security. There was a room off to the side with lockers, and I saw a number of plain-clothes guys step into that room and lock up their sidearms. What surprised me was that even the Federal agents (the FBI guys in my trial) disarmed as well. The courthouse security staff were all plainclothes with blazers, but they looked more like retired LEOs based on appearance.
    I have seen several younger ex-military police types doing CSO (court security officer) work, but probably not more than five.

    I knew one retired cop who was making more as a CSO than he was as a cop.
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    I have yet to be disarmed on my way into a court room, but I'm sure at some point I will be. I have not been in a Federal court yet.
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    I've never been disarmed, either in uniform or plain clothes.

    The way that it is written here in Arkansas is that LEO's are exempt.
    It also gives the Judges a lot of lee way as to who can carry. Basically, if the Judge says its OK and gives you a written permission slip, then its OK, whether you are a certified LEO or not.

    I've actually seen a couple of cases were non-LEO's were authorized to carry to bolster court security.
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    Member Array kwoodford's Avatar
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    The courthouse where I worked if the officer in civilian attire was actully working...i.e. getting warrants signed then they could come in armed. On duty officers in uniform can come in armed. Retired and off duty cannot come in armed. This policy was NOT set by the Sheriff...it was set by the Judges.

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    Distinguished Member Array BigStick's Avatar
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    The way the laws are written in WA and OR, and probably a lot of other states has the exception/exemption to the restricted carry locations portion of the laws that exempt LEO or military "in the performance of their duties" indicating that as long as they are on official business, they can carry.
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    New Hampshire R.S.A. 159:19 Courthouse Security:
    I. No person shall knowingly carry a loaded or unloaded pistol, revolver, or firearm or any other deadly weapon as defined in RSA 625:11, V, whether open or concealed or whether licensed or unlicensed, upon the person or within any of the person's possessions owned or within the person's control in a courtroom or area used by a court. Whoever violates the provisions of this paragraph shall be guilty of a class B felony.
    II. Firearms may be secured at the entrance to a courthouse by courthouse security personnel.
    III. For purposes of paragraph I, ""area used by a court'' means:
    (a) In a building dedicated exclusively to court use, the entire building exclusive of the area between the entrance and the courthouse security.
    (b) In any other building which includes a court facility, courtrooms, jury assembly rooms, deliberation rooms, conference and interview rooms, the judge's chambers, other court staff facilities, holding facilities, and corridors, stairways, waiting areas, and elevators directly connecting these rooms and facilities.
    IV. The provisions of this section shall not apply to marshals, sheriffs, deputy sheriffs, police or other duly appointed or elected law enforcement officers, bailiffs and court security officers, or persons with prior authorization of the court for the purpose of introducing weapons into evidence and as otherwise provided for in RSA 159:5.
    V. It shall be an affirmative defense to any prosecution under paragraph I that there was no notice of the provisions of paragraph I posted in a conspicuous place at each public entrance to the court building. eff. Jan. 1, 2001.

    Emphasis mine.

    Essentially - in NH, unless you're an LEO, latest disarm is at security checkpoint before attempting to enter the rest of the complex.

    For fed courthouses, you've got to disarm before you enter. The Fed courthouse here is pretty nice about it, I've never seen someone get a firearm discovered on them, but I've seen them turn folks around for several things, including a leatherman & what looked like an Ayoob dejammer. No storage at the checkpoint for anything but cell phones. Other places, it wouldn't surprise me if they arrested folks on the spot for that.

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    VIP Member Array HKinNY's Avatar
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    I as non-leo had to go to the same court house twice. The Police Officer liaison room is 10 steps from Metal detector. The first time I went to court was later in the day and the line was out the door. I walked thru the metal detector I beeped. I explained I needed to stop into the Police liaison room to check in. The person still wanded me and I walked into the room and I explained I needed to check a firearm. Handed the PO my firearm license, she gave it half a glance and handed it back to me,then asked for my firearm. I removed it from smart carry and then removed SC and reholstered. She took it and locked into a locker. She looked over my papers and told me go have a seat in the courtroom. She was kind enough to walk my papers straight into the courtroom cutting down my wait time. After courtroom stopped back into office and resuited up. BSed for awhile and left.

    Second time I was there. I was one of the first thru the MD and got there before the PO. Diffrent person.Same routine. Since I was there early no need to walk papers into CM. All good.
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    New Member Array 13THWARRIOR's Avatar
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    Firearms in Court rooms.

    If the Officer was not allowed to have his/her firearm in the courtroom he/she may have had to first completely unload it, clearing the magazines and the pipe prior to the ceremony. I would not work in any Parish, County, District etc. where they would preclude an Officer from being armed in a court room.





    Quote Originally Posted by high pockets View Post
    I was watching TV this morning, and a question arose. I am well aware of the prohibition to bringing a firearm into a courtroom, and wonder if that applies to police officers as well as civilians?

    If it does apply to police officers, does it apply only if in civvies? I only ask because I just saw an officer, in uniform, being sworn in, and the officer was fully armed, with firearm, taser and several spare magazines.

    I wonder if this varies by state, or if it is fairly universal. As I recall, when I served on an Alabama jury, ALL uniformed officers removed their gear belts prior to entering the courtroom. I do not know the procedure in Georgia.

    Just wondering....

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    VIP Member Array Eagleks's Avatar
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    Here, in large cities with bigger court houses, if an officer is there to testify they want him to put his gun in a locker and leave it there. The only people they want armed is those Sheriff's who are working the court.... in there for securing the person, etc. Few Judges don't carry in their courtroom though.

    In smaller towns, officers will typically wear their gun into court.
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    VIP Member Array Secret Spuk's Avatar
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    The only place I was ever asked to disarm was in the federal courthouse, and the local FBI offices. At the courthouse it was simple... lock up firearm in a dedicated gun locker, and keep the key. At the FBI office I politely told them they could catch up with me at my stationhouse. And they could carry their guns there.

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    VIP Member Array mcp1810's Avatar
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    In Maryland, other than in federal courts the only times I saw officers disarm was when they were defendants or for their divorces.
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