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Thread: Courthouse Gun Lockers

  1. #1
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    The other day I visited the Pierce County District Court Civil and Infraction Division at 1902 96 St S. I was carrying concealed. At the security checkpoint, I handed my CPL to the guard and told him that I had a pistol that I needed to check. "You can't bring that in here" was his answer. "No lockbox?" I asked. "No" he replied. I returned to my truck and went back in without it.

    I asked if the law had changed, indicating I thought the law (RCW 9.41.300 (1) (b)) required all courts to have a lockbox. He said that when they did a remodel a few years ago, the took the lockboxes out. No further discussion.

    In 2002 I was in the same court and encoutered the same problem. The guards told me it was "because of September 11th." I talked to the court administrator at that time and she listened politely to my concerns, but was rather unwilling to discuss it with me.

    I didn't make waves then because I was a plaintiff in a small claims case at that courthouse. After the case I let it drop. Same situation now. I would like to make waves, but again, probably not until after the case is heard near the end of the year.

    Any thoughts on this? I'm thinking of talking to the court administrator again first, requesting copies of any documents related to the decision not to allow lockboxes, and then approaching the issue via the Pierce County Council.

    I wonder what authority the council has over their courts. Could the HMFIC judge just issue a ruling that contravenes state law?

    I suppose if they wouldn't budge, I'd have to appeal to Pierce County Superior Court?







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    You certainly could make a case if you wanted to; they have absolutely NO authority to refuse to provide gun storage.

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    I would take it up with the county executive. He is the one ultimately responsible.
    "A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity."

    "though I walk through the valley in the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for I know that you are by my side" Glock 23:40

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    I fought with the Blaine City Manager for almost a year before he agreed that the secretary could check weapons. It was quite funny. She took the gun like it was a dead rat when I handed it to her the first time.

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    heresolong wrote:
    I fought with the Blaine City Manager for almost a year before he agreed that the secretary could check weapons. It was quite funny. She took the gun like it was a dead rat when I handed it to her the first time.
    I can just see her dangling it between two fingers with her nose crinkled up. I would have jumped and said "BANG!" just to see how she'd react. Some people honestly think they're just gonna blow up randomly.....
    I would take it up with the county executive. He is the one ultimately responsible.
    I agree, this would be my course of action as well.

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    Campaign Veteran Right Wing Wacko's Avatar
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    I'm taking my wife into Everett tomorrow to apply for HER CPL permit. I was going to leave my gun at home, since I really don't like the idea of handing it to the government. However.... it sounds like an interesting excercise to see of Snohomish County follows the law. After all.... they expect US to!

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    Regular Member just_a_car's Avatar
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    Right Wing Wacko wrote:
    I'm taking my wife into Everett tomorrow to apply for HER CPL permit. I was going to leave my gun at home, since I really don't like the idea of handing it to the government. However.... it sounds like an interesting excercise to see of Snohomish County follows the law. After all.... they expect US to!
    You're not required to disarm in non-restricted portions of the government office. It's very unlikely that you'll be entering a restricted portion, unless you follow your wife in to get her fingerprints done.

    As to the OP, the infraction division only broke the law if you were entering a restricted area; if you weren't, then you could've gone on carrying legally. If you were, then they have broken the law by not providing a lock box for your firearm and the county executive would likely toe-the-line right-quick if you said the phrase "opens you up for a lawsuit" in regards to liability with respect to damage, theft, injury or death.

    IANAL.

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    Right Wing Wacko wrote:
    I'm taking my wife into Everett tomorrow to apply for HER CPL permit. I was going to leave my gun at home, since I really don't like the idea of handing it to the government. However.... it sounds like an interesting excercise to see of Snohomish County follows the law. After all.... they expect US to!
    If you live in unincorperated snohomish county then you will be going to the courthouse, They do have lockers in their loby before you enter the restricted section to go up to the sheriff's office I use them all the time just walk over to the desk and confidently inform them that you need to check your firearm into the locker They are usually verry cool and collected about it.

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    You are correct. They are required to have a lock box for storage of your handgun. I've used their lockboxes at the main entrance to the courthouse several times. They require a quarter, but it gives you the quarter back when you return the key.

    Now if that part of the courthouse wants to restrict you from carrying, they have to either have a lockbox or direct you to an entrance that does. That's the law. I'd take it up with the county executive. A law suit is not going to be worth your time or money, but you can probably just get their procedures changed and maybe even an appology (you know those government appologies are rarer and more valuable than any monetary reward a lawsuit would bring )

    I personally have never had a problem or even a funny look. I think it would be funny to conceal an AK47 pistol or an AR15 pistol that you know won't fit in a lockbox just to complain about it, but I guess that's more of a waste of everybody's time than a realistic arguement.

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    I dont ever tell them. I just follow the directions.

    1.Open Locker
    2.Insert weapon
    3.Close and lock locker
    "A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity."

    "though I walk through the valley in the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for I know that you are by my side" Glock 23:40

  11. #11
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    The last time I was in Everett they just pointed across to the lockers and then handed me a quarter. I locked it up along with my knives and keys and took the key with me. No one else touched my property. Much better than dropping everything into the envelopes that anyone could pick up by simply saying my name.

    RCW states that they are "required" to secure your weapon for you.

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    Regular Member just_a_car's Avatar
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    BluesBear wrote:
    The last time I was in Everett they just pointed across to the lockers and then handed me a quarter. I locked it up along with my knives and keys and took the key with me. No one else touched my property. Much better than dropping everything into the envelopes that anyone could pick up by simply saying my name.

    RCW states that they are "required" to secure your weapon for you.
    Not only required to secure it, but are also responsible for loss, damage or theft.
    B.S. Chemistry UofWA '09
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    Regular Member amlevin's Avatar
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    deanf--

    If you wish to pursue this start with a letter to the County Executive and be sure to cite State Law.

    If you receive no response, or an unfavorable response, then just contact the local news media. They love to expose government misdeeds.

    Ever since the Brame incident Tacoma and Pierce County have been a great source of "expose'" articles. Let them carry the water on this if your letter is not productive.
    "If I shoot all the ammo I am carrying I either won't need anymore or more won't help"

    "If you refuse to stand up for others now, who will stand up for you when your time comes?"

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    I have had great luck with the lockers in King County. Downtown (Sup. Ct.) and Bellevue (East Div. District Ct.) were very pleasant about it. However, at the Redmond District Ct. the deputy was very annoyed and puzzled as to why I would not have just left it in the car. She even called in my cpl to verify it, etc. But, she did store the gun in the gun locker in the janitor's room.

    The odd thing about it is how easy it is to get a gun into a courtroom. All one needs to do is tell them you have a gun, they wave you through the metal detector, give them your gun, and then you're off to court. If you had two guns and didn't give one to them... Seems pretty damned stupid to me... In fact, I really might try to get this loophole fixed before I finish law school; I would certainly prefer nobody to have guns in a, supposedly,secure area!

    Thelaw also allows them to check the weapon and hold on to it without a locker...

    9.41.300

    " In addition, the local legislative authority shall provide either a stationary locked box sufficient in size for pistols and key to a weapon owner for weapon storage, or shall designate an official to receive weapons for safekeeping, during the owner's visit to restricted areas of the building. The locked box or designated official shall be located within the same building used in connection with court proceedings. The local legislative authority shall be liable for any negligence causing damage to or loss of a weapon either placed in a locked box or left with an official during the owner's visit to restricted areas of the building."





  15. #15
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    As to the OP, the infraction division only broke the law if you were entering a restricted area; if you weren't, then you could've gone on carrying legally.
    It's a small building. The screening point is just inside the door. All other area do meet the definition of restricted area.

    (b) Those areas in any building which are used in connection with court proceedings, including courtrooms, jury rooms, judge's chambers, offices and areas used to conduct court business, waiting areas, and corridors adjacent to areas used in connection with court proceedings. The restricted areas do not include common areas of ingress and egress to the building that is used in connection with court proceedings, when it is possible to protect court areas without restricting ingress and egress to the building. The restricted areas shall be the minimum necessary to fulfill the objective of this subsection (1)(b).

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    I carry a 1911 cocked and locked and I normally drop the magazine and unchamber the round before locking up in the locker at the one place I do it (a hospital).

    Does anyone else carry this way, and do you unload your gun for storage when putting in a provided locker?



    bob



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    Regular Member Mainsail's Avatar
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    I haven’t had to as of yet, but if I did have to lock up my Sig 1911, I would just leave it in the holster and put the whole thing in the locker. When unloading/loading, I would have two distinct moments that the gun had the hammer perched over a live round with the safety off. A distraction or inattention could increase the risk to a level I find unacceptable. It cannot discharge under any circumstance if I leave it in the holster.

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    BobR wrote:
    I carry a 1911 cocked and locked and I normally drop the magazine and unchamber the round before locking up in the locker at the one place I do it (a hospital).

    Does anyone else carry this way, and do you unload your gun for storage when putting in a provided locker?



    bob

    Absolutely not. Not really an option in my opinion, because the courthouses I've done this at insist that you don't work the action/load the firearm, etc. I always press check it and verify the magazine is loaded before I leave, but I don't think they'd take kindly to me loading it. Or unloading it for that matter.



    As a side note, I personally verify my condition of readiness (check the magazine and chamber) before holstering my gun every time. Even if I've set the gun on the counter and not taken my eyes off of it, it still gets checked before it goes back into the holster. I just think it's a good habit to be in.


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    The Kent Regional Justice center has lockers available. Just ask at the info desk. You place your weapon in the locker loaded, sign a sheet and they provide you a key.



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