Police crime scene tape closes off the area in front of the Jefferson County Courthouse on March 13 after a gunman opened fire near the entrance. One woman was killed and three others were injured. The alleged shooter, Bartholomew Granger, remains in the Jefferson County Jail.
It would seem that Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas and Democrat Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota wouldn’t agree on much, but the two lawmakers worked together to introduce legislation that will improve safety at courthouses across the country.
Only three months after a gunman opened fire outside the Jefferson County Courthouse, killing one and injuring three, Sen. Franken introduced the Local Courthouse Safety Act of 2012, which was cosponsored by Sen. Cornyn.
The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the measure, which will boost security training and equipment at local courthouses by improving existing federal programs. The legislation would not require any new costs to taxpayers.
According to a press release, since 2010 there has been approximately one shooting per month at courthouses across the country.
“Our democracy depends on our ability to attract and protect dedicated public servants to administer justice,” Cornyn said.
“This vital role comes with serious security risks that can place judges and courthouse personnel in harm’s way. This bill will provide judges and court officials additional security and peace of mind as they carry out their jobs.”
The Local Courthouse Safety Act will provide greater training to law enforcement officers who protect courthouses; provide local courts with greater access to existing federal grants for courthouse security improvements; and grant local courts direct access to federal security equipment such as metal detectors, wands and baggage screening machines.