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Thread: Question about firearm possession in a court room

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    Question about firearm possession in a court room

    Washington State Law specifically says that no one shall possess a firearm inside of any court room in the state of Washington, except for commissioned law enforcement, military whom are on official duty, and security who are on official duty.

    http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=9.41.300


    The Federal Way Municipal Code says:

    (1) It is unlawful for any person to enter the following places when he or she knowingly possesses or knowingly has under his or her control a firearm:

    (b) A courtroom or judge’s chamber, while either is being used for any judicial proceeding. This does not include common areas of egress and ingress of the courthouse.

    Exception. This subsection does not apply to a judge or court employee or to any person licensed under RCW 9.41.070 who, before entering the restricted area, directly and promptly proceeds to the court administrator or the administrator’s designee and obtains written permission to possess the firearm.

    (2) The provisions of this section do not apply to:

    (a) A person engaged in military activities sponsored by the federal or state governments while engaged in official duties;

    (b) Law enforcement personnel; or

    (c) Security personnel while engaged in official duties.


    So Federal Way allows for Judges and other Court Staff to be armed inside of the court room, and RCW states that LEO, those engaged in military activities, or security officers on official duty may be armed.

    What law trumps here? I am somewhat confused..
    Last edited by Aaron1124; 07-27-2010 at 12:00 AM.

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    As far as I recall the local municipalities can enact laws that are not more stringent than state laws. There fore I believe both laws would apply as only judges and court officials with written permission can carry. And all others (LEO and such) can without permission. So the local law does not place restrictions on state law.

    However the issue would be the actual issuance of this "written permission" does it happen? Probably not.

    Also it states
    who, before entering the restricted area, directly and promptly proceeds to the court administrator or the administrator’s designee and obtains written permission to possess the firearm.
    The way I read that is that ANYTIME someone enters and then leaves a restricted area they must re obtain that permission, theoretically at least. This would be a cumbersome and burdensome task, although it would be worth it....

    Just my opinion though...

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    Gotcha.. I completely read over that last part. It would appear that they are allowing judges to carry their firearm in the egress and ingress areas of the court, and allowing them to properly store their firearm.

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    Regular Member Lammo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron1124 View Post
    Washington State Law specifically says that no one shall possess a firearm inside of any court room in the state of Washington, except for commissioned law enforcement, military whom are on official duty, and security who are on official duty.

    http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=9.41.300


    The Federal Way Municipal Code says:

    (1) It is unlawful for any person to enter the following places when he or she knowingly possesses or knowingly has under his or her control a firearm:

    (b) A courtroom or judge’s chamber, while either is being used for any judicial proceeding. This does not include common areas of egress and ingress of the courthouse.

    Exception. This subsection does not apply to a judge or court employee or to any person licensed under RCW 9.41.070 who, before entering the restricted area, directly and promptly proceeds to the court administrator or the administrator’s designee and obtains written permission to possess the firearm.

    (2) The provisions of this section do not apply to:

    (a) A person engaged in military activities sponsored by the federal or state governments while engaged in official duties;

    (b) Law enforcement personnel; or

    (c) Security personnel while engaged in official duties.


    So Federal Way allows for Judges and other Court Staff to be armed inside of the court room, and RCW states that LEO, those engaged in military activities, or security officers on official duty may be armed.

    What law trumps here? I am somewhat confused..
    I'm going to have to look back in the Session Laws to try to answer this. I distinctly recall that language similar to the Federal Way provision you refer to was part of RCW 9.41.300 and I think there may have been a sub-section reorganization that didn't carry all the way through (that, or they changed the law and Fed Way didn't keep up). RCW 9.41.300(7), which refers back to RCW 9.41.300(1)(a) probably should refer to (1)(b). I cannot imagine any circumstance where any CPL holder would be allowed to bring a firearm into (1)(a) facilities - - jails, police stations, etc. Also, I don't believe many of these would have "administrators". Facilities that do have "administrators" are courts and I specifically recall a section like this applying to courts in the past. I'll so some digging and post the results.
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    Campaign Veteran gogodawgs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lammo View Post
    I'm going to have to look back in the Session Laws to try to answer this. I distinctly recall that language similar to the Federal Way provision you refer to was part of RCW 9.41.300 and I think there may have been a sub-section reorganization that didn't carry all the way through (that, or they changed the law and Fed Way didn't keep up). RCW 9.41.300(7), which refers back to RCW 9.41.300(1)(a) probably should refer to (1)(b). I cannot imagine any circumstance where any CPL holder would be allowed to bring a firearm into (1)(a) facilities - - jails, police stations, etc. Also, I don't believe many of these would have "administrators". Facilities that do have "administrators" are courts and I specifically recall a section like this applying to courts in the past. I'll so some digging and post the results.
    What about a pro tempore judge?
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    Regular Member Lammo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gogodawgs View Post
    What about a pro tempore judge?
    I think they would fall under the definition of "court employee", at least here in Spokane. They listed a whole roster of new pro tems in the 'New Hires" section of the County newsletter last year or the year before.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lammo View Post
    I'm going to have to look back in the Session Laws to try to answer this. I distinctly recall that language similar to the Federal Way provision you refer to was part of RCW 9.41.300 and I think there may have been a sub-section reorganization that didn't carry all the way through (that, or they changed the law and Fed Way didn't keep up). RCW 9.41.300(7), which refers back to RCW 9.41.300(1)(a) probably should refer to (1)(b). I cannot imagine any circumstance where any CPL holder would be allowed to bring a firearm into (1)(a) facilities - - jails, police stations, etc. Also, I don't believe many of these would have "administrators". Facilities that do have "administrators" are courts and I specifically recall a section like this applying to courts in the past. I'll so some digging and post the results.

    Maybe on rare occasion a private detective or bail enforcement or maybe a retired cop? just a guess.

    I always felt there should be a similar exception (proceed straight to manager or equivalent) for the Marked as 21 by LCB also.

    while looking at the RCW page is there a way to know what years "session law" to look at?
    is "session law" the actual bill that was voted on and passed?

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    Quote Originally Posted by END_THE_FED View Post

    while looking at the RCW page is there a way to know what years "session law" to look at?
    is "session law" the actual bill that was voted on and passed?
    Session Law is defined as: A bound volume of the statutes enacted by a legislative body during a single annual or biennial session; a collection of all of those aforementioned statutes.

    If you look at any RCW, you will see a line toward the bottom, just before 'NOTES' that indicate the year, and the location in the 'bound volume' mentioned above that you could locate the legislative record of the change in the law.

    The line would look something like: (from RCW 9.41.010)
    [2009 c 216 § 1; 2001 c 300 § 2; 1997 c 338 § 46; 1996 c 295 § 1. Prior: 1994 sp.s. c 7 § 401; 1994 c 121 § 1; prior: 1992 c 205 § 117; 1992 c 145 § 5; 1983 c 232 § 1; 1971 ex.s. c 302 § 1; 1961 c 124 § 1; 1935 c 172 § 1; RRS § 2516-1.]

    Mr Breeze

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lammo View Post
    I think they would fall under the definition of "court employee", at least here in Spokane. They listed a whole roster of new pro tems in the 'New Hires" section of the County newsletter last year or the year before.
    In Federal Way, they use pro tems a fair amount. They are semi active attorney's that preside over the red light camera's and it is my impression they are doing this pro bono as well. Perhaps I am wrong, but that is what I have observed. If so I am not sure they would be an employee of the court.
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    Regular Member Lammo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Breeze View Post
    Session Law is defined as: A bound volume of the statutes enacted by a legislative body during a single annual or biennial session; a collection of all of those aforementioned statutes.

    If you look at any RCW, you will see a line toward the bottom, just before 'NOTES' that indicate the year, and the location in the 'bound volume' mentioned above that you could locate the legislative record of the change in the law.

    The line would look something like: (from RCW 9.41.010)
    [2009 c 216 § 1; 2001 c 300 § 2; 1997 c 338 § 46; 1996 c 295 § 1. Prior: 1994 sp.s. c 7 § 401; 1994 c 121 § 1; prior: 1992 c 205 § 117; 1992 c 145 § 5; 1983 c 232 § 1; 1971 ex.s. c 302 § 1; 1961 c 124 § 1; 1935 c 172 § 1; RRS § 2516-1.]

    Mr Breeze
    All correct. The session laws are also the actual laws passed by the legislature and signed by the governor. If there is a conflict, and it has happened, the session laws control over the Revised Code of Washington, which is created, oddly enough, by the Code Reviser. If you wanted to look up first listing from the example above, you would go the the Laws of 2009, Chapter 216, Section 1. The last one listed, RRS Section 2516-1, refers to Remington's Revised Statutes, which preceded the RCW and was published from about 1932 to 1949.
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    Regular Member Lammo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gogodawgs View Post
    In Federal Way, they use pro tems a fair amount. They are semi active attorney's that preside over the red light camera's and it is my impression they are doing this pro bono as well. Perhaps I am wrong, but that is what I have observed. If so I am not sure they would be an employee of the court.
    Could be (that they aren't paid, not that you are wrong :-) ). I do know they are paid over here. BTW, do you know why lawyers use the term "pro bono"? Because they don't recognize "free" as a word. :-)
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    Regular Member Lammo's Avatar
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    OK - - I was mostly correct

    Quote Originally Posted by Lammo View Post
    I'm going to have to look back in the Session Laws to try to answer this. I distinctly recall that language similar to the Federal Way provision you refer to was part of RCW 9.41.300 and I think there may have been a sub-section reorganization that didn't carry all the way through (that, or they changed the law and Fed Way didn't keep up). RCW 9.41.300(7), which refers back to RCW 9.41.300(1)(a) probably should refer to (1)(b). I cannot imagine any circumstance where any CPL holder would be allowed to bring a firearm into (1)(a) facilities - - jails, police stations, etc. Also, I don't believe many of these would have "administrators". Facilities that do have "administrators" are courts and I specifically recall a section like this applying to courts in the past. I'll so some digging and post the results.
    Language essentially identical to the provision in the Federal Way code used to be in RCW 9.41.300. It was removed in 1993 by Laws of 1993, Chapter 936, Section 1, which started life as Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1059. I guess a bunch of liberal judges became afraid of their bailiffs packing heat. :-) BTW - - This is also the law that set up the lockbox requirement and the ingress/egress exception.

    I honestly don't know whether Federal Way's code can allow possession of firearms in an area that the state has placed off limits. It would seem to me though that preemption is a two way street. We argue all the time that the locals cannot prohibit what the state does not prohibit so logic would indicate that the locals could not allow what the state does not allow.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lammo View Post
    The session laws are also the actual laws passed by the legislature and signed by the governor.
    Would just like to point out that a bill can become law without the governors signature. If it is passed by both houses and lands on the governors desk, and does not receive veto or signature, it can become law without signature. It can also become law after veto, if the vetoed bill receives a 2/3 vote from both house as a veto override.
    While both of these methods are rare, they are part of the power vested in the legislature by Article 1 section 7 of the US constitution (federal veto powers and override) and the WA Constitution article III section 12 (governor vetor powers and overrides).
    Last edited by Mr Breeze; 07-27-2010 at 04:00 PM.

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