Green light for open-carry in Mississippi
Mississippi’s open-carry gun law will finally take effect after being kept on hold for about two months. “This court now finds that the circuit judge erred as a matter of law when he found House Bill 2 to be vague and, therefore, unconstitutional. He also erred when he stated that a ‘reasonable person reading the bill could not discern what the law allows and what it prohibits,’” ruled Justice Randy Pierce.
The high court unanimously upheld the law on Thursday. Earlier this year, the bill was passed and Gov. Phil Bryant signed it, saying adults don’t need a permit to carry a gun that is not concealed.
A number of officials, among them the Hinds County district attorney, sued to block the law, justifying their decision by warning that there could be chaos if people started carrying openly in public places. Circuit Judge Winston Kidd put the law on hold just before it was to become law July 1.
Upon hearing arguments, Kidd issued an injunction July 12, saying the law was on hold until the Legislature can clarify it.
However, justices overturned Kidd’s injunction July 12. The ruling was based on written arguments filed by opponents and supporters of the law; no oral argument was heard whatsoever.Republican Rep. Andy Gipson of Braxton, the main advocate of House Bill 2, said Thursday that he’s pleased with the justices’ unanimous ruling.
“It just confirms, in a very real sense, the right to keep and bear arms,” Gipson told The Associated Press.
Attorney General Jim Hood, a Democrat, spoke in favor of the open-carry law in court. He issued a nonbinding legal opinion June 13 that says guns can still be banned in courthouses and other public buildings. Many places, including the Capitol and public parks, have signs to show that weapons are prohibited.
The major issue for the opponents of the open-carry gun law is that it has caused confusion regarding where people may carry guns that aren’t concealed. They also say that it could put law enforcement officers in danger if untrained people are carrying guns.
Republican Bryant said that the law restates the right to bear arms that is in the Mississippi Constitution. Many supporters of the law share his opinion.
With the open-carry law taking effect, the previous law still bans guns on school and college grounds. Bryant said that he has no argument with guns being banned in government buildings.
Bans of openly carrying guns in public buildings have been implemented by many counties and cities.