“Telling colleagues and superiors that he fears a family law litigant, Anoka County Judge John Dehen wants to carry a gun into the courthouse.” Sounds reasonable enough, no? After all, it’s not like courthouse shootings are totally unheard of, particularly where family court matters with all their attendant drama are concerned. And it’s already legal for prosecutors to pack, IF they kiss all the right rings that is. So if it’s acceptable for one officer of the court to have the means to protect himself while at bar, why not another? Most likely thinking along those lines, Judge Dehen has explored the idea, talking to the local sheriff and his district’s chief judge about exercising his RKBA while at work. Except, as the Strib breathlessly points out, just like Oliver asking Mr. Bumble for a little more gruel, Dehn’s requests to exercise his Second Amendment — “wading into uncharted legal waters” — have resulted in raised eyebrows, no small amount of shock and even some uncomfortable harrumphing . . .

Cmdr. Paul Sommer of the Sheriff’s Office said they haven’t decided whether Dehen can bring a gun into the courthouse, but strongly discouraged him from doing it, saying the courthouse already provides adequate security measures. Chief Judge John Hoffman of the 10th Judicial District asked Dehen for assurance that he wouldn’t violate the 2003 court order that banned guns from the courthouse unless his request is approved.

Gee, no judges in bigger Hennepin County (which includes Minneapolis) have ever asked to pack heat. In fact, the Hennepin judges just finished a four hour security course. What more could they possibly need?

When the Strib asked Hennepin Chief Judge Pete Cahill about it, he said “I feel very good about courthouse security and feel I don’t need to provide my own security.” I know I feel better, you?

But Judge Dehen has a supporter in State Rep. Tony Cornish, one of the sponsors of the bill that allowed prosecutors to carry. As Cornish put it — showing uncommon common sense for a politician — “I still believe the best person to defend yourself is you.” That still doesn’t seem to apply to regular citizens having business with the court, though. No, you apparently need a J.D. to be able to exercise your Second Amendment rights in a Minnesota courthouse.

26 Responses to OMG! A Judge! Who Wants to Carry a Gun! OMG!

  1. Why would a judge need a gun any more than a “common” person? Besides, they have armed guards protecting them, and if all else fails, they have that hammer thing that goes up.

    • “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.”

      -“Animal Farm”, by George Orwell

      Shut up and eat your gruel, peasants.

    • “Why would a judge need a gun any more than a “common” person?”

      Really, you don’t think/see that the power to rule against someone can attract a little more anger than what a “common” person could expect to attract by merely antagonizing someone else? If you were being sarcarstic, it was lost on me, since it didn’t add to the discussion.

      The need does not come from the right to defend oneself, as both judge and “common” person have the same right. The need comes from the situations/jobs that, in the judge’s case, start with two opposing parties (now there’s a promising start) seeking resolution in emotionally charged cases (getting better still). In my job, not so much need. About the only people I manage to piss off on a recurring basis is the officer spouses’ club.

  2. Hmm. I always assumed that all judges had been carrying guns to court since the 1700’s. I always assume they’re carrying in Texas. Lord, I hope so. I kind of rely on it, really.

  3. After a long career in law enforcement, I can testify (Ha Ha) to the fact that bailiffs are the bottom of the performance chain in this profession. Most, but not all, are burn outs, screw ups, stressed out “rubber gun squad” qualified, these people are the ones who do not want to work on the street and avoid conflict, decision making and action at all costs – and they are lazy.

    They would not be my first choice as a layer of protection between the concentrated batch of loonies that appear in court and are about to be held accountable for their misdeeds.
    Just as most of the readers of this blog feel, it is true that each person is responsible for their own protection.
    I agree that it seems that some get special treatment – but that is changing with “must issue” state laws and the Internet spot light shinning on the fungus of elitism in politics.
    Keep fighting but recognize a victory when you see it. If a judge feels this way, he is more likely to make common sense decisions when it comes to firearms as a total radically liberal jurist.
    The judiciary is one of the three legs our government is built upon. We can’t count on the president, and the legislature is too busy lining their own pockets to bother with serfs.
    Perhaps our best hope remains in the courts.

  4. If one took Taurus’s claim seriously many judges are already carrying their Judge. I guess not in Hennepin County. If the Family Courts were more equitable and less discriminatory, based on sex, then the potential dangers and actual violence that does occur might drop.

  5. It’s pretty common in FL for criminal division judges to carry. Easy to hide whatever you want to carry under those robes.

  6. While his intentions are good, Rep. Tony Cornish should not be pushing this. The idea that some people have more rights than others or are more important thus deserving of special exceptions is disgusting.

    Handing the judge extra rights now won’t put the rest of us on path to eventually have the same rights. There are plenty of occupations where employees face danger and can’t have weapons to defend themselves. Already the judge has armed protection in his courtroom.

    • I think it is reasonable for a judge to have extra permissions in a court house, just like the other official people there, such as police officers. This is their house and it is potentially quite dangerous. This is one place where I think it’s reasonable for the general public to be disarmed. People can get quite desperate in court.

      Now, once you’re out of the court, then I’m back with you that judges and police should have no better right to firearms than the general public.

  7. To carry this a little further, does anyone see any reason why people convicted of misdemeanors and serving time in the county jail shouldn’t be allowed to carry concealed while doing their sentence? They aren’t convicted felons, and the jail is a violent place where they’d be more likely than the average citizen to actually NEED a firearm.

    • Barstow, in person sarcasm is hardly ever lost on me but online is a different story. Im not tech savy nor was I ever good at interpriting emotions in writing. That said…

      Youre not serious! Are you!? lol

  8. The question all employees in a “no guns” situation must ask is: “Does my employer pay me enough to come home in a box?”

    My answer has always been:”I can always find another job,but they only issue one life per person.”

    • Is that what Shakespere had in mind when he said, “to be or not to be?” Because what Gregolas said is the question.

      My job sure dosnt pay me that much and I have had my share of potentialy violent encounters on the street. But until they make it legal for non-LEOs to carry on an ambulance and hospital, Im screwed.

  9. Wow. I guess I shouldn’t make assumptions either. I had always assumed as some of you did that Judges carried for the most part and if they didn’t they certainly didn’t have to “ask permission” to carry inside THEY OWN COURT ROOM. I was surprised to see this was in Minnesota. I would expect something like this out of California.

  10. Gun bans in this county–and all the other surrounding counties–are set by the presiding judge of the court, not the county. Years ago, a judge in a nearby county had his bench armor plated (in the days before metal detectors at the gate), and yes, he carried too. Any judge in this county who wants a CCW will get one, plus they have secure parking at the courthouse. In family law case, the ex spouse is usually target number one, followed by her lawyer, followd by the judge, but sometimes the judge comes first.

  11. I have always agreed with the idea that the three nearest things to an absolute dictator our society permits are; the captain of a ship at sea, the pilot of an aircraft in flight, and a judge in his courtroom.
    That any of them should be forbidden to be armed does not fit with the level of authority we grant them.

  12. Cmdr. Paul Sommer of the Sheriff’s Office said they haven’t decided whether Dehen can bring a gun into the courthouse, but strongly discouraged him from doing it, saying the courthouse already provides adequate security measures.

    So do law enforcement officers who are not part of the court house security detail — i.e., cops testifying as witnesses — disarm before entering the sacred halls of justice?

  13. The most dangerous place for a judge in relation to his/her job is not in the courthouse, but in the parking lot. How many courthouses have either solid walls around a gated judicial parking area or have armed bailiffs available to walk the judges to their cars? Neither exist in any courthouse in CA that I’ve seen.

  14. OMG, my Dad, small claims court judge, carried a gun into the courtroom when it was in session. That was in late 70’s in small town in Texas Hill Country. Not sure if it was his .357 revolver left to him by former sheriff or a nice Colt 1911 style .380 semi auto pistol I inherited from him. Not a problem for him with armed sheriff deputies in his court.

    Today, I’m pretty sure most of the judges in that county carry concealed.

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