Open Carry Law Upheld in Mississippi
Posted: Monday, September 9th, 2013 at 2:00 pm
The Mississippi Supreme Court voted unanimously to allow the state’s open-carry gun law to go into effect immediately. The law had been on hold since a circuit judge ruled that the open carry law was vague and unconstitutional.
Supreme Court Justice Randy Pierce wrote in his opinion that the judge made errors as a matter of law when he stated that a “reasonable person reading the bill could not discern what the law allows and what it prohibits…”
In early 2013, the state legislature passed and Gov. Phil Bryant signed House Bill 2 that allowed adults to openly carry handguns without the need of a permit. People carrying concealed handguns will still need a permit.
The Hinds County district attorney filed a suit to block the law, stating that it would cause chaos if people were allowed to openly carry handguns in public.
Circuit Judge Joe Kidd heard oral arguments and issued an injunction on July 12, stating that the law was on hold until after the legislature clarified the law.
The justices overturned the injunction based on written pleadings offered by both proponents and opponents of the law. No oral arguments were presented.
Republican Representative Andy Gipson applauded the ruling, stating that it confirms the right to keep and bear arms. Governor Bryant, who supported the law, said that the court’s ruling reaffirms the right to bear arms as stated in the Mississippi constitution.
Democratic Senator John Horhn blamed the influence of the National Firearms Association (NRA) for the court’s decision, stating that not even the supreme court is free from the power of the NRA. Horhn had originally backed the bill, but then he made a reversal, expressing concern that police officers would be in danger from citizens openly carrying handguns. Horhn was one of 10 legislators who sued to block the law.
Attorney General Jim Hood issued a non-binding legal opinion that stated that guns could still be banned in public buildings like courthouses.
Reports are coming in that elected politicians in the capital and city halls are busy posting signs that ban guns in their buildings. Other state laws ban weapons in schools and university campuses.