(GA) Judges sign up for firearms training


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Drizzt
May 8, 2005, 11:51 PM
Judges sign up for firearms training

Many on the bench already have military or law enforcement experience

BY JIM HOUSTON

Staff Writer

On the heels of recent fatal attacks on a federal judge's family and an Atlanta judge, some Columbus judges have signed up for handgun training by instructors at the Columbus Police Department.

About half of the state or city judges in Columbus have opted to participate in the series of training sessions, said Columbus State Court Judge Andy Prather, who organized the sessions.

Prather said after a federal judge's husband and mother were murdered, he began to seriously question what he should do.

"I realized that if I had not done everything reasonably possible to defend my family and something happened to them, I would never be able to forgive myself," Prather said Wednesday.

Then Fulton County Superior Court Judge Rowland W. Barnes, his court reporter and a sheriff's deputy were gunned down in Atlanta on March 11.

"I went out and bought a gun," Prather said. "That's when I realized I was much more afraid of that gun than of something bad happening."

Police officials offered to allow the judge to use their range, where several officers suggested a series of lessons could teach him better than to turn his head, close his eyes and squeeze the trigger on his 9 mm pistol.

That's when the idea of offering training to Columbus' judges was born. Prather sent invitations to all the judges, with some declining and others welcoming the opportunity.

Muscogee Superior Court Judge John Allen, a Vietnam veteran, said he qualified as an expert marksman in the U.S. Air Force and still has the .38-caliber revolver with which he became so familiar.

"I've only been to the range once or twice over the last five years. I'm not a regular target shooter," Allen said.

Still, he said it's a good idea for anyone who owns a firearm or is considering carrying a handgun to become proficient with the weapon.

Superior Court judges Robert Johnston and Bobby Peters also will be taking the six-hour instruction class.

"I had some firearms training in the Army, but that was a long time ago," Johnston said. "I have been to the range with deputies and I have a pistol, but it's been about 10 years now. I just felt it was appropriate to participate."

Peters, a former deputy sheriff, said he still remembers his firearms training, but he'll take his .357 Magnum to the range with the other judges.

It won't be an all-male judicial shoot, however. State Court Judge Maureen Gottfried, whose husband is a police officer, also has signed up for the firearms instruction.

"It's my personal opinion nobody should carry a gun unless they've had some particular training," Prather said. "At a minimum, we should go through the same qualifying that police do."

http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/mld/ledgerenquirer/news/local/11566041.htm

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Standing Wolf
May 8, 2005, 11:59 PM
At a minimum, we should go through the same qualifying that police do.

Says so right in the new, revised Second Amendment, too.

RevDisk
May 9, 2005, 12:05 AM
"It's my personal opinion nobody should carry a gun unless they've had some particular training," Prather said. "At a minimum, we should go through the same qualifying that police do."

Uhm. I'd agree if that meant I could carry any of the toys that police are allowed to carry. Like NFA toys with no tax stamp required.

rwc
May 9, 2005, 01:17 AM
I knew a couple judges down in Arizona who were armed all the time.
One of them was the first judge I appeared in front of while in law school working for the prosecutor's office. He had put himself through law school working the graveyard shift as a deputy. The story goes he had been working undercover years before when a drug deal went bad. He was shot multiple times and left for dead out in the desert. He crawled to the road and made it. It is fair to say that he was an intimidating figure, and it was no coincidence that green prosecutors were sent to his courtroom. You did your job right or you heard about. And if you did your job right, you heard about that too. Not many like him.

Norm357
May 9, 2005, 01:29 PM
Dont let the Judges quoted in that article mislead you. By State Law, Judges are excempt from CCW laws and most carry outside of the Metro Atlanta area. I live in Clayton and most of the Judges here carry. They are very Pro 2nd also.

Hypnogator
May 9, 2005, 02:12 PM
"It's my personal opinion nobody should carry a gun unless they've had some particular training," Prather said. "At a minimum, we should go through the same qualifying that police do."
Frankly, that's my opinion, too. Should be the opinion of everyone on this board. Notice the judge is using the term "should" instead of "must." I agree that everyone who wants to carry a firearm should have training in how to safely use it, and in the law regarding justification to use deadly force. I do not, however, believe that such training should be mandated in order to exercise one's Second Amendment rights. "Should" and "must" have two entirely different legal meanings, and I think the judge expressed her opinion properly.

Rockstar
May 9, 2005, 03:50 PM
Just as a point of interest, Judge John Allen isn't JUST a Vietnam vet, he's also one of the few African-American Phantom fighter pilots of the Vietnam war. It's been suggested to him that he swap that .38 for a Glock. :)

The judge who was afraid of his gun and shoots by turning his head and closing his eyes sounds like a real pansy.

scout26
May 9, 2005, 09:04 PM
This is Columbus, Georgia.... the place right outside of Ft. Benning....Center of the Known Universe we're talking about right ????

armedandsafe
May 9, 2005, 11:12 PM
The judge who was afraid of his gun and shoots by turning his head and closing his eyes sounds like a real pansy.

Not necesarily. He sounds more like someone who has never been exposed to the tool and has read all the news media's comments on the eeeeevil traits of the tool.

Pops

mfree
May 10, 2005, 10:23 AM
"we" may mean "we judges" here, since they're just about as in "the line of fire" on a daily basis as the court officers are.

svtruth
May 10, 2005, 01:13 PM
Gives new meaning to "order in the court"

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