Survey: Lots of Judges Carry Concealed for Self Defense

The recent attack on a county judge in Ohio has focused attention on the highest officers of the court and their carry habits.

Judge Joseph Bruzzese used his concealed-carry firearm to kill his attacker, who shot him several times last week in Ohio.
Judge Joseph Bruzzese used his concealed-carry firearm to kill his attacker, who shot him several times last week in Ohio.web photo

According to this story from the Associated Press, a lot of American judges carry concealed, far more than people may realize, even though attacks on them, like the one that occurred recently in Steubenville, Ohio, are pretty rare.

The story says, as Jefferson County Judge Joseph Bruzzese recovers from a shooting that almost took his life last week, the "question of whether judges should be armed got renewed attention."

The National Judicial College performed an analysis of personal and on-site security measure for judges in 2014, which was anonymous.

“I now carry an easily accessible handgun with me at all times,” one judge said in the survey. I have received firearms training and continue to practice and receive ongoing gun safety and training.”

"There are plenty who are carrying them now because of their position, and they're aware that there are risks associated with the decisions they make and the positions they have," said Muffler in the story. He is retired from the U.S. Marshals Service and now works as director of MOSAIC Threat Assessment Systems for Gavin de Becker & Associates, a private security agency.

While some judges even carry in the actual courtroom, a few states ban guns inside courthouses altogether, like Rhode Island, although it allows police to carry stun guns.

The story says Tennessee passed a law in 2011 allowing judges to carry firearms into their own courthouses after 16 hours of initial training and eight hours repeated annually.

While attacks of the magnitude seen in Steubenville are rare, two out of every 100 judges told the National Judicial College’s 2014 survey that they’d been physically attacked at some point in their career.