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Do you think prosecutors should be allowed to carry firearms?

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  • Do you think prosecutors should be allowed to carry firearms?

    Its been much discussed in other forums if prosecuting attorneys should be allowed to carry firearms. As it stands now, several states and the fed have their own policy regarding armed prosecutors. Some examples of existing policies:

    1. Assistant U.S. Attorneys (Federal Prosecutors) can carry if they are deputized as Special U.S. Marshals for that specific purpose. However, they can only be deputized if they have been threatened or if they are assigned to "high-risk" prosecutions (Organized crime, Terrorism, Violent Gangs, and so on). Whenever an armed AUSA carries a firearm, they must also have with them their DOJ creds, AUSA badge (if their district issues one), and the USMS card that says they are deputized.

    2. Most states allow their prosecutors to carry firearms by obtaining a concealed weapons permit like any other citizen.

    That having been said, I would like to know your opinion, both the officers and non-LE people here, on what you think. For me personally, as a law student that will most likely find himself in a prosecutorial position oneday, I think that prosecutors should be allowed to carry for personal defense, as long as they obtain the proper permit and receive some basic training. I disagree with DOJ policy on deputizing AUSAs only if they are threatened or are working "high-risk" cases. I feel that a white collar criminal facing punishment could be a threat to a prosecutor just like a mob boss or gang member. AUSAs should be allowed to carry no matter what types of cases they prosecute.

    Some may think that prosecutors shouldn't carry because they are not really law enforcement officers, but I say that they are. Both prosecutors and officers run into the same scum, the difference being officers are in the much more dangerous position of meeting these criminals on the street, while prosecutors face the criminals in the courtroom. Also some will say that prosecutors should not carry because they have no powers of arrest and serve no real "police" function. This may or may not be true depending on the jurisdiction. Where I'm from, prosecutors can't make arrests (other than citizen's arrests of course) but they can and often do conduct interviews, do follow-up investigating, and will even serve their own subpeonas/court orders if a deputy sheriff isn't available.

    [ 07-20-2002: Message edited by: GMULaw ]
    "I feel like I'm Han Solo, and you're Chewie, and she's Ben Kenobi, and we're in that f***ed-up bar!"

    Jay the Prophet

  • #2
    What are you thinking? Does not the Second Amendment gaurantee all the right to keep and bear arms? Why do you put up with illegal restrictions?

    Comment


    • #3
      I forgot to mention that before Sept. 11, Congress was working on a bill that would give Assistant U.S. Attorneys limited GS-1811 status so that they too can receive the same 25% LEAP pay and retirement benefits as Federal LEOs. I don't know if this bill is still on the table with all thats happened after September, but I'd like your opinion on this too.
      "I feel like I'm Han Solo, and you're Chewie, and she's Ben Kenobi, and we're in that f***ed-up bar!"

      Jay the Prophet

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      • #4
        I feel that a white collar criminal facing punishment could be a threat to a prosecutor just like a mob boss or gang member.
        I definitely agree with you there. I read an article the other day about this subject. An attorney, who was granted a CCW in his state, was returning home from work late one night when two guys approached him and told him that basically they were gonna "mess him up" because he was the guy who put their cousin in jail a month ago. The two guys started coming after the attorney, and he drew his firearm. Immediately the two guys were scared sh*tless, and got outta there.

        I do think that if attorneys are granted CCW permits that they should be held to the same qualifications as LE personel. It's easy to carry a gun, but what matters is that you know what you are doing so when it all goes down, you dont end up looking down the barrel of your own gun.

        Take care,
        Adam
        -Adam

        "It is life near the bone where it is sweetest" -Henry David Thoreau

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        • #5
          Every citizen has the right to carry. You are a law student and don't know that?

          This question you pose has nothing to do with what career a person follows. This has to do with a basic right.

          Jim Burnes

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          • #6
            Mike and Jim,

            GMU's question isn't out of line. The problem he's facing as a future Federal Prosecutor is that there are SEVERE restrictions as to who can carry within a Federal Courthouse.

            Like GMU said, in most states (including anti-gun California) prosecutors can receive CCW's. It's a move that I think should be standardized, as prosecutors have been targets of threats by defendants and their friends and family.

            However, state-issued CCW's are USELESS in Federal Courthouses.

            You are both correct that even without the authorization, a Federal Prosecutor can carry off-duty, subject to the laws of the state where he's at. But he can't carry to/from the office, and closest he'll be able to get the gun will be the parking lot (and in this post 9/11 world maybe not even that far). Just like with cops, it's often to/from work where you're most at danger of an off-duty ambush, since that's the most obvious place to find you.

            Never mind what you think about the Second Amendment, and whether or not these are illegal restrictions. The current status quo is that without specific authorization, guns are forbidden within the walls of a Federal Courthouse. Since it's Federal Judges that have made this ruling, I doubt they'll have much sympathy in your Second Amendment claim.

            [ 07-20-2002: Message edited by: Sig220Man ]

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            • #7
              I agree that prosecutors who carry firearms should be held to the same standard as all other LEOs. In fact, they should be held to an even higher standard, due to the fact that carrying a firearm is not a required part of the job (unlike a police officer). This is why I believe that prosecutors that are given the option to carry should still be required to complete the required steps to obatin a CCW permit in their state (or deputization if an AUSA), and be sent to some basic firearms training.

              Jim Burnes...Yes I know and love our 2nd admendment rights (I may soon be a 1L law student, but I was a republican first). However, while this means you can buy, own, store, and use firearms...If you try to carry one in public while concealed without a permit, you are breaking the law. I don't know a single state where concealed carry w/o a permit is legal. I'm saying that prosecutors should be allowed to obatin these permits. I'm sure you know many states have strict rules on obatining CCW permits, and while being a prosecutor may or may not make it easier to obatin one, the problem is not the prosecutor getting the CCW permit...often its the office or jurisdiction that limits the prosecutor's right to carry. Like I said, a Fed prosecutor can only get deputized to carry if somekind of known threat exists, and many local prosecutors are restricted from carrying at all. (Reasons for this are many, some local prosecutors believe that having armed prosecutors might tempt the prosecutors to start acting like super cop-lawyers; and there are other social, political and even moral reasons that local offices don't let their prosecutors carry.)The arguement here is not the right for prosecutors to own firearms, every citizen has that right; the question is should prosecutors be allowed to carry concealed weapons in public for self protection.
              "I feel like I'm Han Solo, and you're Chewie, and she's Ben Kenobi, and we're in that f***ed-up bar!"

              Jay the Prophet

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              • #8
                Yes, yes and yes! There is definate logical obvious rationale for prosecuters to carry firearms.

                I would bet that prosecuters are amongst the top 5 positions in which revenge alone would target them.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I don't know a single state where concealed carry w/o a permit is legal
                  Vermont, I think.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I believe that not only prosecutors, but judges as well should be allowed to carry, and should be trained along side the local law enforcement. Range training for these folks should be done the same as it is for us. AND it should be manditory if they are going to carry.

                    It sure wouldn't hurt relationships either, if we rubbed elbows with these folks in the range environment.
                    6P1 (retired)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      In this state, States Attorneys are classified as LEO's, so it's not a big issue here.

                      While I understand the issue about carrying in a Federal Courthouse and that's where they pretty much work (and agree that they should be able to carry period), is this as critical as it sounds? Would it be a HUGE problem if they were provided a lock-up for their weapons before entering past the metal detector, like state and local LEO's have to do in most cases?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Niteshift:
                        Would it be a HUGE problem if they were provided a lock-up for their weapons before entering past the metal detector, like state and local LEO's have to do in most cases?
                        I think this would be an ideal compromise. Put gun lockers just inside a staff-only entrance, similar to the sallyport of a jail.

                        This way the AUSA's will be able to protect themselves while outside the courthouse walls, while addressing Federal Judges' concerns about having "too many guns" in their courthouses

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I don't believe that prosecutors need to be armed in courthouses. Only bailiffs (and police) should be armed in courts. Some jurisdictions won't even allow a police officer to walk into court armed. I do feel that jurisdictions with armed prosecutors should have some lockup place to store firearms just like a jail for example. Personally, I believe that prosecutors do not need to be armed in courts or in their offices. These places are often crawling with police, citizens and sheriff deputies/court officers and are generally safe places. Prosecutors should be armed when in public and when performing their duties outside of the courtroom/office. (Like I said before, prosecutors in many jurisdictions, my own included, carry out some non-court investigative work, including interviews, serving subpeonas, even going to crime scenes)

                          [ 07-21-2002: Message edited by: GMULaw ]
                          "I feel like I'm Han Solo, and you're Chewie, and she's Ben Kenobi, and we're in that f***ed-up bar!"

                          Jay the Prophet

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I'm curious what MikeTx and Jim Burnes are suggesting GMULaw do? Should he ignore the state laws (which are supported by current US Supreme Court decisions) that require him to obtain a permit before carrying concealed?
                            If you see me running try to keep up!

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by GMULaw:
                              I don't know a single state where concealed carry w/o a permit is legal.
                              Vermont
                              Bill R

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