Bill being pushed to allow prosecutors to openly carry a firearm
POSTED: Friday, April 5, 2013 - 5:23pm
UPDATED: Friday, April 5, 2013 - 9:05pm
Henderson, TX (KETK) — Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McClelland was behind a bill in Austin.
If passed, that legislation would allow prosecutors to openly carry a firearm.
Other district attorneys in East Texas are behind this bill and trying to carry on where McClelland left off before he was killed.
Under Texas law, state prosecutors can carry concealed handguns anywhere a peace officer can.
This was passed after the Smith County courthouse shooting back in 2005.
But after the murder of Kaufman County prosecutor Mark Hasse, McClelland met with his state representative to change the penal code.
Rep. Lance Gooden, who represents both Kaufman and Henderson County, filed a bill in February, to allow prosecutors the option to openly carry a firearm.
Since McClelland could not follow through with the bill, Henderson County District Attorney Scott McKee is picking up where he left off.
"As events in the last couple of months have shown us, we're a target sometimes and I think as law enforcement officials, we should be able to have those same rights Mike believed that as peace officers do and that would be to openly carry," said McKee.
McKee is trying to work with Rep. Gooden and other district attorneys in the area to push the bill to a public hearing.
Rusk County District Attorney Micheal Jimerson says he fully supports this effort.
"If you are a law abiding citizen, then you are part of law enforcement. I do favor more armed citizens not just prosecutors, but I don't have a problem with more armed citizens," said Jimerson.
New reports also show McClelland was shopping for guns and bullet proof vests the day before he was murdered.
McClelland wanted to buy guns and protection for his worried employees shaken up by the unsolved murder of Hasse.
McKee says he and his assistant district attorney have been browsing gun shops in Athens for personal protection.