Tulsa OK: Judge applauds courthouse gun law

Discussion in 'In the News' started by Wiley, May 21, 2007.

  1. Wiley

    Wiley Guest

    http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article. ... rumb=legal

    Monday, May 21, 2007

    Judge applauds courthouse gun law

    Judge Tom Thornbrugh
    The new law “will greatly enhance courthouse security for all the citizens.â€

    By BILL BRAUN World Staff Writer

    District Judge Tom Thornbrugh calls it 'wise legislation.' He armed himself during a courthouse commotion in 2005.

    A new law specifying that district judges can have guns in courthouses is "important and wise legislation," said a Tulsa judge who made headlines when he armed himself during a court commotion a year and a half ago. The law, signed last week by Gov. Brad Henry, "will greatly enhance court house security for all the citizens," Tulsa County District Judge Tom Thornbrugh said. The law clarifies what had been the common understanding of the law and adds the component of requiring a judge who wants to keep a firearm at the courthouse to have appropriate training, he said. The law requires a judge to possess a concealed handgun license if he or she is to have a gun on the job.

    In 2005, Thornbrugh armed himself in the wake of a disturbance involving deputy sheriffs and an in-custody defendant who was on trial for attempted rape. While jurors were excused from the courtroom, a loud struggle developed behind the closed door of a room where the defendant had been taken for a restroom break. Thornbrugh said he retrieved a pistol from his chambers and positioned himself in the courtroom to watch the door of that room until other deputies arrived.

    He said he had a permit to carry a concealed weapon and that he kept the gun unloaded in a desk but loaded it before responding to the emergency. He indicated recently that he still has "personal security" available at the courthouse.

    The judge said in 2005 that he didn't think he had violated any law but that if there was concern that the law wasn't clear, legislators should address it. There were mixed opinions about whether a judge was allowed by law to have a gun in a government building, and the matter was raised by a challenger during Thornbrugh's successful 2006 campaign for re-election.

    Paul Wilkening, chief deputy for the Tulsa County commissioners, said the "genesis"of the new law was the episode in Thornbrugh's court. Undersheriff Brian Edwards said he thinks Thornbrugh "acted very prudently," given the information that he had.

    Edwards said he doesn't object to the law involving judges and guns at the courthouse. The Tulsa County Sheriff's Office has previously provided training for judges at a shooting range.

    Regarding the new law, which takes effect Nov. 1, District Judge Gordon McAllister said, "I didn't have a gun before this, and I'm not going to have one as a result of this." He said his experience has been "very positive" concerning the work of court guards provided by the Sheriff's Office. "I'm trained as a lawyer and a judge," McAllister said. "Court guards are trained in security."

    District Judge Deborah Shallcross said she has a concealed handgun permit and that "I have a gun with me at times, but I've never felt the need to have one in chambers." She thinks the courthouse "for the most part is very secure," but her main areas of concern are where divorce cases and protective order matters are heard.

    "I believe our security is not what it should be in those areas," said Shallcross."


    Bill Braun 581-8455
    [email protected]

    By BILL BRAUN World Staff Writer
  2. jgullock

    jgullock Active Member


  3. Tinkerhell

    Tinkerhell Active Member

    Yet another group that is elevated above us lowly peons and can protect us after having decided that we must be disarmed so as not to protect outselves.
  4. Rammstein

    Rammstein New Member

    Ye are not the gentry...best be back to work serf. Those fields are not going to plow themselves. :D
  5. GAGunOwner

    GAGunOwner Active Member

    Unlike GA that exempts them from even having to get the GFL to carry at all.
  6. GAGunOwner

    GAGunOwner Active Member

    Tell this to Judge Barnes that was killed by Brian Nichols...oh wait... :cry: