Open carry law finally approved
by Kevin Pearson
Aug 30, 2013 | 2160 views | 0 0 comments | 30 30 recommendations | email to a friend | print
On Thursday, the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that House Bill 2, which clarifies the definition of “concealed,” regarding the carrying of firearms, is valid and constitutional, and is now in effect statewide allowing citizens to openly carry firearms without a license.

The court also lifted the injunction that Hinds County Circuit Judge Winston Kidd placed on the bill after he found it was unconstitutionally vague.

The bill was set to go into affect on July 1, but the injunction stopped it with the intention to allow the Mississippi Legislature a chance to review, amend, and clarify the bill, if needed.

“House Bill 2 is an important clarification of citizens’ rights to keep and bear arms under the state and federal Constitutions. I am very pleased that the court has agreed that House Bill 2 is consistent with the Constitution so that law will now take effect statewide,” said Gov. Phil Bryant.

The bill discusses permit and licensing requirements for concealed weapons that do not apply to unconcealed weapons.

This allows a person, with no license, to carry a firearm in public as long as “enough of the firearm is visible so that it is readily apparent to ‘common observation,’” according to an official opinion from the Mississippi Attorney General’s office.

“I’m proud the supreme court confirmed our goal of protecting our right to bear arms. Today’s ruling is a win for our Constitution and a win for every Mississippian,” said Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves.

The open carry provision not only applies to handguns but also to shotguns and rifles.

Firearms do not need to be in holsters and can be carried in pockets or the waistband of pants, as long as the firearms are readily apparent to common observation.

“The Constitution grants us the right to bear arms. As a life member of the National Rifle Association, I am pleased the supreme court has protected this fundamental right,” said Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann.

Although this allows citizens to openly carry firearms in public, the opinion from the Attorney General’s office also says, “A private property owner or manager of a retail store, grocery store or restaurant may exercise his property rights and deny entry to persons carrying weapons on his property.”

Cleveland Police Chief Buster Bingham said, “We want to protect the gun owners rights, however, we also want to protect the rights of the individuals who don’t want guns on their property.”

To exercise property rights and deny entry to those with weapons, the property owners must post a sign, verbally announce, or by other means announce to the public that weapons are not allowed on the premises.

The bill does not allow for the openly carrying of weapons on educational property such as private and public schools, colleges and universities.

The decision of whether or not openly carried firearms would be allowed in courthouses is up to the sheriff.

Bolivar County Sheriff Kelvin Williams said, “We are going to stick to the federal guidelines and not allow weapons in courthouses or educational facilities.”

In additional the Cleveland Board of Aldermen has voted to not allow guns on any city property, including parks.