A state law went into effect Friday allowing some judges to carry guns anywhere in the state for protection.
House Bill 1242 gives district judges, municipal judges, and retired district judges the right to carry guns. That means there could be more guns in some courthouses.
District Judge Kurt Glassco said about all of the district judges in Tulsa County already have a concealed carry certification. He said the courthouse is a safe place, but there are obvious reasons why the law is now in effect.
"We've had some recent history of some violence on the courthouse steps, and we've also seen very unfortunate things around the country that have occurred, and i think this was in response to all of those things," Glassco said.
It has been about two years since the shooting outside the Tulsa County Courthouse. There have also been instances of people acting out in Tulsa County Courtrooms over time.
The Sheriff's Office runs security at the Tulsa County Courthouse. There are security checkpoints at each entrance. The Board of County Commissioners owns the building and has some say in how it is patrolled.
"We're real serious about it. I mean, we have a good track record of a safe courthouse, and we want to keep it that way for the people that show up day in and day out to do the business of the public," said Chief Deputy County Commissioner Michael Willis.
Willis explained there are other areas in the state that do not have strict courthouse security standards. He said some do not have metal detectors.
There are still some questions associated with the new law. It does not explicitly specify whether judges must carry a concealed weapon or if they may carry openly.
The law also does not mention special judges.
Special Judge Carl Funderburk said he does not think it applies to him. He said he has a concealed carry license but so far, has not felt the need to carry on the job. He does not expect many judges will elect to carry guns openly on their hips at the courthouse.
Glassco said the Chief Justice, Administrative Office of the Courts, or attorney general might address these uncertainties in the future.
Glassco said district attorneys, other state officers, and some municipal officers may also openly carry.
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