November 29, 1993
Personal and Confidential
Judge publicly advocating handgun control
Re: Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges
Your inquiry dated October 22, 1993
You have requested our Committee to give an opinion concerning a judge publicly advocating handgun control. All Committee members responding to your inquiry conclude that it would be a violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct to actively advocate for handgun control. The Committee perceives this to be a political issue not involved in the administration of justice. Although there may be some circumstances where it would be proper for a judge to publicly express an opinion concerning firearms, your inquiry casts the judge in the role of a political advocate.
The committee is expressly charged with rendering advisory opinions interpreting the application of the Code of Judicial Conduct to specific circumstances confronting or affecting a judge or judicial candidate. Its opinions are advisory to the inquiring party, to the Judicial Qualifications Commission and to the judiciary at large. Conduct that is consistent with an advisory opinion issued by the committee may be evidence of good faith on the part of the judge, but the Judicial Qualifications Commission is not bound by the interpretive opinions issued by the committee. Petition of the Committee on Standards of Conduct for Judges, 327 So2d 5 (Fla.1976).
Very truly yours,
Nath C. Doughtie, Chairman
Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges
cc: All Committee Members
Office of State Court Administrator (name of Judge deleted from this copy)
Participating members: Judges Dell, Doughtie, Farina, Green, Kahn, Patterson and Rushing