Cornish debuts bill to arm prosecutors in courtroomsby Tim Pugmire, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — State lawmakers will take a closer look at courtroom safety issues Thursday morning during a legislative hearing.
The House Public Safety Committee will consider a bill to allow county attorneys and assistant county attorneys to carry firearms while they're on the job. A second bill would increase the penalties for anyone convicted of killing or assaulting a prosecuting attorney.
The committee chair, Republican Rep. Tony Cornish of Good Thunder, says he began working on the bills before last month's courtroom shooting in Cook County. He says courtrooms are getting too volatile, and armed bailiffs are not always available.
"Five days before the assault, my county attorney in Blue Earth County forwarded this proposal to me and told me how dangerous it was getting in court and cited some threats," Cornish said. "And almost prophetically five days later, the assault took place in Cook County. So, it really highlighted the emphasis for the bill."
Cornish says he's getting bipartisan support for both bills.