Street Q & A: "Could a judge armed with a concealed weapon prevent tragic courtroom deaths, such as what recently occurred in Atlanta?

By Heather Anderson | Mar 16, 2005

Aaron Kuban, Geneseo On the streets of Edwardsville, a Record reporter recently sought reaction on arming judges in the courtroom.

Aaron Kuban, Geneseo

Kevin Cannon, Edwardsville

Alyssa Bruns, Edwardsville

George Linden, Ph.D.,Edwardsville

Trish Oberweis, Ph.D., Edwardsville

Dr. John Farley, Edwardsville

Dr. Gerald O'Brien, St. Louis

"Judges have the enormous responsibility of making crucial life decisions for people. If we trust them to make such judgments, they should be trusted to carry a gun."

Aaron Kuban, Geneseo, Ill.

"No. It is not the judge’s main responsibility when there are deputy sheriffs staffed with guns and trained to handle such a situation. Although some judges have security measures in place -like bullet-proof podiums in the courtrooms, it is not their responsibility to provide security."

Kevin Cannon, Ph.D., Edwardsville

"There were people armed, and it still happened. So, I don’t believe arming judges will prevent it from happening again. A possible solution would be to have under cover law agents as spectators in the audience."

Alyssa Bruns, Edwardsville

"I doubt a judge would be a good enough shot to hit anything. This was an unusual circumstance…almost hysterical, like the incident with the shoe bomber in the airports. As a result, I have to take off my shoes when I fly. Now the whole country’s reacting. Security is a police job, not the judge's responsibility."

George Linden, Ph.D., Edwardsville

"Judges should not carry guns. It is the absolute extreme responsibility of the State to provide the courts with people who are trained to handle security risks. There may be areas that need to be corrected to make court security more failsafe, but as a general rule, it’s almost never good to create a new policy based on one incident."

Trish Oberweis, Ph.D., Edwardsville

"With more guns in our courts, a gun-fight might breakout, so more guns in the court rooms is not the sensible answer. Who’s to say this guy didn’t get his idea from the previous judge shooting? What does make sense, though, is to allow judges to carry concealed guns for their own safety."

Dr. John Farley, Edwardsville

"The judges already have protection around them, so the problem doesn’t lie with the judges, but with the process. The greater questions should be whether or not judges should carry guns outside the courts."

Dr. Gerald O’Brien, St. Louis

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