I continue this break from my series regarding A Resolution Regarding Marijuana to correct last week’s speech regarding weapons in the courthouse. I made a mistake in reading ORS 160.370: section 3 exempts concealed weapons permit holders from section 1, which prohibits weapons in all public buildings, but not from section 2, which prohibits weapons in court facilities. My apologies to Sheriff Gilbertson and County Counsel Steve Rich, and my thanks to Mr. Rich for sending me an e-mail memo detailing my error.
However, section 2 gives the presiding judge for the district, at this time, Lindi Baker, the authority to allow weapons within court facilities. Last week, Commissioner Ellis told us that, several years ago, Judge Baker declined to allow then-Commissioner Raffenburg to carry his permitted concealed weapon in the courthouse.
Thus far, Judge Baker has sought security in disarmament of courtroom visitors. She is now so secure in her courtroom that she becomes alarmed at the site of small sewing scissors cutting thread twenty feet away in a crowd of solid citizens. She is so secure that she usurps authority she doesn’t have under state law, and seeks to ban small pocket knives, scissors, and fingernail clippers from courtrooms. Is this real security?
Where are all possible weapons banned, and the ban actually enforced? In jail. Not even the jailers are armed. Would Judge Baker feel secure in our jail? Or would she fear people who are larger and stronger than she is? Weapons are equalizers between the physically weak and the strong.
Meanwhile, there is another Commissioner who is made insecure by Judge Baker’s idea of security. Commissioner Cassanelli has provided for her own defense by taking the requisite courses and obtaining a concealed weapons permit, and she would like to be free to be armed in her office.
I also hear that the Treasurer’s office downstairs often has a lot of cash around. The Sheriff doesn’t have the deputies to guard that money, but concealed weapons permit holders like Cassanelli can provide security without costing us any money-as long as crooks know that they are allowed, and that anyone in the courthouse could be armed.
I request that the Board of Commissioners and Sheriff Gilbertson formally ask Judge Baker to allow permitted concealed weapons and unconcealed sheathed belt knives in the courthouse, for the convenience and safety of the citizens who use the courthouse. The present security situation is untenable: it disarms obedient citizens; forces them to leave their permitted weapons in insecure autos; and leaves outlaws in the courthouse armed and all the more dangerous.