After killings, Cornyn wants prosecutors allowed to carry guns into courts

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) has asked Attorney General Eric Holder to ensure that federal court officers are allowed to carry firearms in court facilities.

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His letter comes days after a district attorney in Texas and his wife were murdered. Authorities probing the crime are focused on a white supremacist prison gang the attorney was investigating.

In his letter, Cornyn said federal law should be clarified so that court officials can carry guns given the dangers they face in targeting violent and organized criminal networks.

Although federal law allows prosecutors to carry weapons, federal policy stops prosecutors from taking personal guns to their offices, Cornyn said.

"It has come to my attention that federal law (18 USC §930) exempts law enforcement officers, agents, and federal officials (such as prosecutors) from prohibitions on carrying firearms in federal court facilities," Cornyn wrote. "Yet I am told that as a matter of policy, federal prosecutors are barred from carrying personal self-defense firearms to their offices (and parking facilities) even if they hold a state-issued concealed carry license.

"If this information is accurate and is a matter of federal court policy, then the safety and security of federal officials demands the policy's immediate reconsideration. Prosecutor safety should start with enabling them to defend themselves from violent attack."


Cornyn also said he was crafting legislation to reinforce security for federal judicial officers. His letter was sent to Holder and Judge Thomas Hogan, the director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife were killed over the weekend — a crime in which McLelland was reportedly shot 20 times. McLelland's office had been involved in a multiagency investigation of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas.

A few months earlier, Kaufman County Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse was killed near the courthouse where he worked. McLelland had vowed to bring Hasse’s killers to justice.

Since McLelland's murder, a U.S. attorney in Houston withdrew from a racketeering investigation of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas.