TO: Joint Procedure Committee
FROM: Mike Hagburg
RE: Rule 54, N.D. Sup. Ct. Admin. R., Safe Courtroom Firearms Handling
Proposed Admin. Rule 54 came before the Committee at the April meeting as a proposed court rule. It has been converted to a proposed administrative rule as the Committee requested and changes approved by the Committee at the April meeting have been integrated into the proposal.
The Committee instructed staff to gather comments on the proposal. Comments were sought from court administrative personnel, including the state court security consultant. Comments were also sought from the sheriffs of the state's 11 largest counties. The comments that were received are attached.
In general, court administration staff supported the rule. Unit 1 Administrator Chris Bleuenstein had several specific suggestions, which are attached.
Sheriff staff from Ward and Stutsman counties supported the proposal. Sheriff Scott Busching of Williams County indicated that the rule seemed to be an attempt to legislate common sense and suggested that judges continue to handle this matter. Chief Deputy Duane Snider of Morton County suggested that the rule needed to deal with the issue of whether law enforcement officers may carry their duty weapons into court.
At the April meeting, members proposed possible amendments to the rule to be considered once comments were received:
--A member suggested that language be added to paragraph (a)(2) allowing police officers and court bailiffs to carry firearms in the courtroom only when on duty or acting in an official capacity.
--A member said that subdivision (g) should include a prohibition on firearms being pointed at attorneys or parties.
The Committee may wish to consider whether these amendments and the amendments suggested in the comments should be integrated into the proposal. Proposed Rule 54 is attached.