Newly Introduced Bill Would Let Prosecutors And Judges Carry Guns

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WASHINGTON (April 10, 2013)--On Wednesday, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn proposed legislation in response to the killings of Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse.

McLelland and his wife Cynthia were gunned down at their home in Forney nearly two weeks ago, and Hasse was killed near the Kaufman County Courthouse in January.

The bill, titled the "Line of Duty Act of 2013," would allow local governments to use existing funds to provide security details for prosecutors and judges in danger of retaliation or intimidation.

The bill would also extend the rights of those officials to carry weapons for self-defense.

If passed, the bill would allow all judges, prosecutors, and law enforcement officials (both state and federal), to carry firearms into all federal courts and facilities.

A new federal crime would be created under the bill, which would increase penalties for the killing or attempted killing of any prosecutor, judge, or law enforcement official (both state and federal.)

Cornyn says he proposes to provide prosecutors and other law enforcement officials with greater flexibility in protecting themselves and their families.

McLennan County 19th District Court Judge Ralph Strother says the bill has promise.

"What happened in Kaufman County has raised the awareness that our culture has changed and that our society has changed," Strother said.

"There are certain measures we have to take in accordance with those changes."

The "Line of Duty Act of 2013" has a long way to go before it becomes any sort of law.

Yet Judge Strother says he's already made up his mind, saying the bill is a good idea.

"If this legislation makes it better for us to protect ourselves, our families, and our job, then I'm all for it," he said.