Minnesota House Passes Pair of Bills Aiming to Keep Attorneys Safe

By KBJR News 1

March 1, 2012 Updated Mar 1, 2012 at 9:21 PM CDT

Grand Marais, MN (Northlands NewsCenter)
-- The Minnesota House of Representatives has overwhelmingly passed a pair of bills attempting to keep county attorneys safe with stiffer penalties and firearms.

These bills have gotten attention in light of the December 15th courtroom shooting where Daniel Schlienz allegedly brought a gun into the Cook County Courthouse and opened fire.

"I don't think I'll ever have the same security...the feeling of security I had before December 15th. How ever we are putting measures in place to keep us safer"

Assistant Cook County Attorney Molly Hicken doesn't oppose a new bill that aims to keep her safe by allowing her to bring a gun to work.

"I wouldn't argue against it. It's just not something I would argue for"

She says it wouldn't have helped her the night Daniel Schienz supposedly tried to take her friend and co-worker Tim Scannell's life.

"If I would have had a weapon on my person and had drawn it when Daniel Schlienz was in this office, he could have taken it away from me just like he took it from the bailiff"

Scannell feels the same not opposed to the bill but not going to by a gun if it passes.

"I could totally envision wanting to carry wanting to carry a weapon but that's not my plan, that's not something I'm thinking about but I feel other people feel differently and they shouldn't be precluded from having rights other citizens have"

Now what you have to understand is this bill is not all about guns...it also imposes harsher penalties for those who attempt to take the life or attempt to harm a county attorney and according to Molly Hicken that can help curb some of the violence that happens in courtrooms all over America.

"One central tenant of our criminal justice system is that a penalty will deter certain behavior so an increased penalty should have an increased deterrent affect"

The two bills, gradually making their way to Governor Dayton's Desk to prevent what happened to Hicken that December night...from happening again.

Another gun bill passed the House of Representatives yesterday... expanding the right to use deadly force for personal protection outside of the home to include a tent, a boat or a car.

The expanded castle doctrine is scheduled to be sent to Governer Dayton's desk. It's unclear if he will sign it citing opposition from police chiefs across Minnesota.

Zach Vavricka

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