May 18, 2006
This is in response to your inquiry (06-51) in which you ask whether it is ethically permissible for you to carry a pistol while you are on the bench.
As an initial matter, possession of a firearm may raise legal and administrative issues that are beyond this Committee’s authority. We cannot opine on such matters. But from an ethical standpoint, there is no prohibition in the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct barring you from carrying a firearm while performing your duties on the bench. A judge, however, must act “in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary”. 22 NYCRR 100.2(A). Judges must also “be patient, dignified and courteous” to those who appear before them. 22 NYCRR 100.3(B)(3). For these reasons, this Committee believes that keeping your firearm concealed and safeguarded on your person while you are on the bench is advisable, should you choose to carry one and assuming that there are no legal or administrative barriers that would preclude such possession.