Miss.'s New Gun Law: Good, Bad and Ugly

Attorney General Jim Hood acknowledged that much vagueness still exists in the new gun law, such as what defines a non-sensitive public place.

Attorney General Jim Hood acknowledged that much vagueness still exists in the new gun law, such as what defines a non-sensitive public place. Photo by Trip Burns

When a new law goes into effect on July 1, it's going to feel like the Wild West in Mississippi. Not only because the law permits individuals to carry guns and other weapons in plain view and without a permit but also because the law is so vague that the courts will likely be barraged with lawsuits over its nuances.

"It'll be pretty tricky for cops on the street," Attorney General Jim Hood said to reporters Thursday afternoon, of the law's gray areas.

After lawmakers passed the law—House Bill 2—during the last session to clarify the existing law, Hood's office prepared an opinion at the request of law enforcement agencies.

Current state law requires a permit to carry a concealed weapon, but questions remained about the definition of "concealed." Hood's official opinion states: "If enough of the firearm is visible so that it is readily apparent to 'common observation,' then the firearm is not concealed."

However, the opinion also points out that while carrying a weapon in the open is legal, wielding or brandishing it in a threatening manner—except in self-defense—could result in a $500 fine, three months in jail or both.

The law is also clear that weapons can be prohibited in "sensitive" areas, such as schools. Private businesses could post signs or tell patrons verbally that carrying weapons is verboten and municipalities could prohibit open carry in county and city courthouses and other government buildings. Hood added that if a sheriff does not explicitly prohibit guns, open carry of firearms would remain legal.

Hood acknowledged that much vagueness still exists in the law, such as what defines a non-sensitive public place. For example, an indoor shopping mall might prohibit weapons while individual stores might not. Hood also said that it's unclear whether cities and communities would be able to declare property such as city halls sensitive places.

Courts will have to make determinations on case-by-case bases, Hood said.

"I don't see it as a major problem," Hood said of the new law.

Comments

bill_jackson 10 months, 1 week ago

Watching the reaction to this on social media is quite amusing. People are freaking out and predicting wild west shootouts, much like when the concealed carry law was passed.

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skantman 10 months, 1 week ago

Well, the old saying goes, "An armed society is a polite society." Guess we are about to find out if that's true.

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justjess 10 months, 1 week ago

This is CRAZY! In a State where people pretend to be sooooo concerned about the RIGHT to LIFE, this law knocks a hole in the whole idea.

Guns are for SHOOTING: Shooting leads to KILLING: Killings lead to an increase in the Funeral Home Business.

Mississippi does not have to worry about succeeding from America, a strategy/law has been passed that will destroy us. There are also severe financial consequences: Who will want to attend an event with guns being strapped to the side of our citizens.

Haven't we had enough deadly activity in this state with guns? Our law makers have proved once again that they are totally irresponsible.

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bill_jackson 10 months, 1 week ago

28 other states currently have open carry, and they don't seem to be having problems with it.

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tstauffer 10 months, 1 week ago

Bill, just a quick Google shows that all around the country the gun debate is still rather hotly contested and a lot of people "have a problem with" open carry. As far as a I know, none of the 50 states has a huge UV-blocking dome over it, but that doesn't means people aren't worried about sunburn.

Whether or not open carry adds to gun violence is certainly an open question and it'd be nice if there was more unbiased research. There's certainly evidence that shows that states with more guns per capita, on balance, have more gun violence, which pretty much makes sense.

What is readily apparent with open carry is that the gun owner is willing and determined to substitute his own comfort for that of others around him who would prefer that handguns weren't introduced in their environment. And I'd guess that's why the debate exists in the first place.

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bill_jackson 10 months, 1 week ago

I suppose those same people would totally freak if they could somehow know how many concealed carry individuals were around them at any given moment.

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justjess 10 months, 1 week ago

I guess I am included as one of those people who would"totally freak if they could somehow know how many concealed carry individuals were around them at any given moment."

No, this is not my "freak" out point. I am freaking out about the number of deaths and injuries that occur in this City on an almost daily basis. Just the though of this state having such a loose law with the racial tension and black on black crime is mind boggling. Add this to many of our white citzens who are arrming themselvs for the "REVOLUTION", the STAND YOUR GROUND defense and the RISE OF THE SOUTH to win the up-coming civil war is a bit too much for comfort.

The CONFEDERATE flag continues to wave! More guns heightens the WIND!

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bill_jackson 10 months, 1 week ago

Wow. There's a lot going on in that comment. I don't even know where to begin.

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tstauffer 10 months, 1 week ago

I suppose those same people would totally freak if they could somehow know how many concealed carry individuals were around them at any given moment.

Actually, that's an argument FOR conceal carry over open carry.

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justjess 10 months, 1 week ago

I agree that we have always had people who carry concealed weapons both legally and illegally. My simple point is that if we add: LEGAL + ILLEGAL + OPEN = A POSITIVE FOR INCREASED CRIMINAL ACTIVITY

So, let's get ready for the WILD WILD WEST!

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Duan 10 months, 1 week ago

I will make this very simple point?

Guns are nothing but magnets for trouble! PERIOD!

They cause more problems, than solve them.

And it simply amazes me how people rely, carry, and depend on them to solve their problems - whether it's emotionally, socially, and/or financially!

I hate them with a passion!

With the problems they bring into situations - why in the hell would someone loosen the wrangs on any legislation to maintain a simblance of order and public safety is beyond me.

Sho'nuff - nuff'said!

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robbier 10 months ago

Duan, I wonder if one of the robbery victims last night at that church on Ridgewood Rd was open carrying a firearm, would the thugs have still robbed them.

Robberies at churches, now. Smh.

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justjess 10 months ago

@ Duan "Guns are nothing but magnets for trouble!"

Thanks Duan. This is my simple point made even more simple!

At the end of the day, this article will be titled:

Miss's New Gun Law: Bad and Ugly

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js1976 10 months ago

"Guns are nothing but magnets for trouble! PERIOD!"

Sorry, but the gun I keep in my truck has never attracted any trouble. Period!

The problem is, guns are magnets for idiots that think they are cool!

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bill_jackson 10 months ago

Right. None of my guns have ever caused or attracted trouble, with the exception of my WW 2 rifles, which I'm pretty sure caused some grief for a few Nazis.

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Duan 10 months ago

@ Robbier

Duan, I wonder if one of the robbery victims last night at that church on Ridgewood Rd was open carrying a firearm, would the thugs have still robbed them. Robberies at churches, now. Smh.

Robbier I'll do you one better? I wonder if them thugs didn't have a gun to begin would they have even went out and committed the crime?

Because the psychology behind their ignorance was probably - "If I have a gun, then no one will mess with me when I attempt to.................rob, jack, or steal from them"

That is why I call them (guns) magnets for trouble - whether they are used as scare tactics or an ends to a means - in America - damn near anywhere- a majority of the time, it usually has a negative end result - because they are used as an ends to the means in a lot of negative situations.

Its just that simple!

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Duan 10 months ago

@ js1976 1 day ago

Sorry, but the gun I keep in my truck has never attracted any trouble. Period! The problem is, guns are magnets for idiots that think they are cool!

And good for you JS - but you would be considered the exception to the rule in my book and I'm glad you have sense enough, not to go ape crazyy and turn to use it on someone you hate or feel like they are challenging your manhood.

But who's to say someone won't break into your trcuk while you're not looking and steal the gun- in order to use it to commit some stupid crime? Which is usually the case with guns.

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