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Corrections officers get right to carry guns while off duty

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on May 4, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
May 4, 2011 12:31 pm

Correctional employees will have the right to concealed guns while off-duty under a law Gov. Chris Gregoire signed Tuesday.

As long as they have had government-sponsored firearms training, corrections officers and community-corrections officers — formerly known as prison guards and parole officers — won’t have to obtain concealed-weapons permits.

They will also be able to bring weapons to some areas where the general public can’t, like the secure areas of airports.

Other law enforcement, like police, already are exempt from those restrictions and license requirements.

Rep. Tami Green, D-Lakewood, said her bill would allow corrections workers to protect themselves from retaliation by former inmates. Green’s statement:

OLYMPIA – Additional support for correctional employees was signed into law today with the Governor’s approval of Rep. Tami Green’s (D-Lakewood) House Bill 1041.

“This is a step forward in protecting our correctional employees,” Green said. “Like law enforcement officers, correctional employees should have the right to protect themselves outside the prison gates.”

Green’s House Bill 1041 allows correctional personnel and community corrections officers who have completed government-sponsored law enforcement firearms training to be exempt from certain firearm restrictions.

As shown in recent tragedies, the level of violence in correctional facilities remains an issue. In addition, correctional personnel receive many threats, and they are at risk of retaliation from former inmates when off-duty.

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