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Bill pledges greater gun immunity, protection for judges

December 27, 2013

Judicial officers would be granted the same ability to carry firearms and immunity as law enforcement officers under a bill introduced by the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Sen. Brent Steele, R-Bedford, is sponsoring Senate Bill 3. The bill also increases the criminal penalty for battery against a judge who is engaged in official duties. The offense would be reclassified from a Class B misdemeanor to a Level 6 felony, or a Level 5 felony if the battery resulted in bodily injury.

The legislation would allow judges to possess firearms anywhere a law enforcement officer may while the officer is carrying out official duties. Further, the bill says a judge “may not be prohibited from possessing a firearm on land or in buildings and other structures owned or leased by the state or any agency of state government or a political subdivision.”

In increasing the penalties for battery against judges, the legislation would extend to judicial officers the same protections as current law provides for law enforcement officers; penal, corrections and juvenile detention employees; probation and parole officers; community corrections workers; home detention officers; Department of Child Services workers; firefighters and emergency medical service providers.

The bill also contains language pertaining to judges who carry guns, stating they have “the same civil and criminal immunities and defenses concerning possession and use of the firearm that a law enforcement officer has when the law enforcement officer … possesses and uses a firearm; and … is engaged in the execution of the law enforcement officer’s official duties.”
 

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