Packing heat to protect yourself

By Aaron Diamant

The Tennessee Department of Public Safety says nearly 21-thousand people in Shelby County carry concealed weapons, and that number includes some very influential people.

In Municipal court in Germantown, the honorable Judge Raymond Clift is presiding. off jacket and putting on judge's robe] As a judge and a lawyer, Clift gets a first hand look at crime, and he's not taking any chances with his own safety. Judge Clift said, "I've got a model ten military and police Smith and Wesson 38 Special with a five inch barrel."

And Judge Clift is not alone. An Action News Five investigation found more than a dozen elected officials in Memphis and Shelby County are licensed to carry concealed weapons. Our search turned up at least one other person on the bench who's legally armed. For some judges, packing can be a part of the job. "I know for a fact that a lot of people don't like judges especially when they get a wrong ruling." Turns out Tennessee law allows judges to carry a concealed weapon even without a permit. "A lot of judges wouldn't even fool with the firearm law if they started getting threats. They would probably immediately need to start carrying a pistol." But that's not why Judge Clift decided to arm himself. "I don't carry it to court or back with me. And that would be if you made somebody mad in court, more than likely, they would be waiting for you outside. And that's when you would need it. But I just never carry it. I really only carry it when I'm on the road."

It's not violence on the road, but crime here at home that concerns at least one Memphis councilmen. Brent Taylor said, "All of us. No matter whether we're the Chairman of the City Council or we're the mayor or we're an average citizen, all of us are susceptible to being victims of crime." And that's why some elected officials here in the Mid-South have decided to pack heat.

And there's more. They represent you in court, on the city council, even at the school board, but you probably didn't know they are licensed to carry. Find out who else is packing Tuesday night on Action News Five at 10 p.m.