Packing Heat in Harris Courts

Harris County DA asks for AG's opinion on whether he can stop his prosecutors from taking a gun to court

Bet Judge Roy Bean didn't have to ask for a letter to take his gun to work. Hmm, maybe a bad example.
Bet Judge Roy Bean didn't have to ask for a letter to take his gun to work. Hmm, maybe a bad example.

Anyone know whether it's legal to wear a flack jacket to court? Harris County District Attorney Kenneth Magidson is requesting an attorney general's opinion on whether he's allowed to tell his staff they can't take a handgun to court with them.

After the 2007 legislature basically said that prosecutors with concealed handgun permits could take them pretty much anywhere, Magidson's office reformed its operations manual to fit the new rules. Now it allows staff members with a concealed handgun permit to bring their weapon to the DA's office and "common areas of county buildings other than correctional facilities." If it's not on their person, the gun has to be locked away out of sight, and it can't be taken into the courtroom without "the express written permission of the district attorney." Now one of his own prosecutors is claiming that (surprise, surprise) this is unconstitutional, so Magidson wants clarification.

In his supporting brief, Magidson wrote, "The attorney general should conclude that a district may lawfully and constitutionally prohibit prosecutors with concealed handgun licenses from carrying firearms in courtrooms." He argues that ADAs are at-will employees of the prosecutor, and like any employee they have to follow the company rules. No letter from the boss, no taking a gun to court.

Newsdesk expects their Christmas party may be awkward this year.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Courts
Texas' Big, Bad Week for Voter Suppression and Gerrymandering
Texas' Big, Bad Week for Voter Suppression and Gerrymandering
Within two days, courts reject second election map, voter ID bill

Richard Whittaker, Aug. 25, 2017

Lecturers Sue to Block Campus Carry
Lecturers Sue to Block Campus Carry
Do Texas concealed handgun rules break the Second Amendment?

Richard Whittaker, July 7, 2016

More Elections
Early Voting Locations and Voter ID Info
Early Voting Locations and Voter ID Info
Find your nearest polling location and know what to bring with you

Oct. 14, 2019

Here's What's on the Nov. 5 Ballot in Austin
Here's What's on the Nov. 5 Ballot in Austin
A quick guide to the propositions you'll be yea-ing or nay-ing

Sarah Marloff, Oct. 11, 2019

More by Richard Whittaker
<i>One Perfect Shot</i> To Become HBO Max Series
One Perfect Shot To Become HBO Max Series
Twitter celebration of cinema being adapted by Ava DuVernay

Aug. 7, 2020

AISD’s High-Profile CFO Takes Her Leave
AISD’s High-Profile CFO Takes Her Leave
Nicole Conley passed over in search for new schools chief

Aug. 7, 2020

KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Courts, Elections, Gun Control, Second Amendment, Harris County, Kenneth Magidson

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle