Pulling the Trigger on a Gun Ordinance | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Pulling the Trigger on a Gun Ordinance

A potential ban on firearms on municipal property is stalled in the Jackson City Council’s Rules Committee.

A potential ban on firearms on municipal property is stalled in the Jackson City Council’s Rules Committee. Photo by Trip Burns.

Jackson City Council President Charles Tillman's effort to ban firearms in certain public areas is encountering new obstacles that could ultimately sink the measure.

One of them is Ward 4 Councilman De'Keither Stamps.

Stamps argued during a Jan. 7 rules committee meeting that the proposed ordinance—which would ban the carrying of firearms, except by sworn law officers, at public places—goes too far for a number of reasons.

The law is too vague, Stamps said, adding that language about toy guns could lead to problems between law enforcement officials and the public.

"I think we're going a little far when you can't have a water gun in the park," Stamps said. "I understand (that the ordinance is designed to protect people), but it should be incumbent upon our training and how we train our officers. (When you include language about toy guns) you lead the ability for people to be detained because they have a water gun."

Ward 3 Councilwoman LaRita Cooper-Stokes pointed out that toy guns that look like real guns could be used in crimes, and that both citizens and police officers have the ability to use common-sense judgment when dealing with those situations.

"I think reasonable people would just not bring it if they know they shouldn't. We can make it part of a campaign, or just have signage at our parks so people would know what we can and can't bring."

Stamps also questioned the city's authority to ban the carrying of concealed weapons in certain areas, asking if the council even had the authority to exercise a ban outlined in the language of the ordinance.

The Jackson Police Department says it does.

In accordance with a Dec. 3, 2012, opinion from the office of Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, JPD attorney Latrice Westbrooks made adjustments to the ordinance, removing language saying that "any" municipal property would be covered. Assistant Attorney General Ricky Luke wrote in the opinion in December that gun owners who hold "enhanced permits" can carry their weapons to places like voting precincts, churches and inside passenger terminals of airports, even if signs that prohibit them are posted.

How far the council can go in limiting the carrying of firearms is unclear, and a lot depends on whether the city is trying to ban concealed, or "enhanced" permit-holders, or open carrying.

Under current Mississippi law, adults do not need permits to carry a gun that is not concealed, but any person with a standard permit may not carry a concealed weapon in certain places, including schools, colleges or professional athletic events "not related to firearms."

Westbrooks said the city does have some room to exert its will, and that the legal team had brought the ordinance into compliance with the attorney general's opinion.

"Municipalities have limited authority to regulate concealed weapons and openly carried weapons," Westbrooks said. "That's one of the things the Dec. 3 attorney general's opinion outlined. So, our capacity is somewhat limited to municipal property. ... We're trying to stay within the confines of the statute."

Still, Stamps iterated his philosophical disagreement with the measure, which he said will turn citizens into targets. Creating gun-free zones, he said, invited criminals to prey upon defenseless citizens.

"When you know all the people in this certain area have been disarmed, it creates an opportunity for crime

"Creating gun-free zones create an opportunity for crime. When you know all the people in this certain area have been disarmed, it creates an opportunity for crime," Stamps said. "Criminals don't follow the law, the law-abiding citizens follow the law. So we follow the law, and now we're being harmed because they don't."

Cooper-Stokes, who chairs the rules committee, did not call for a vote on the ordinance, so it will not placed on the Council's regular agenda.

Comments

BIGAL 3 years, 9 months ago

Creating gun-free zones create an opportunity for crime. When you know all the people in this certain area have been disarmed, it creates an opportunity for crime," Stamps said. "Criminals don't follow the law, the law-abiding citizens follow the law. So we follow the law, and now we're being harmed because they don't."

A Civic leader with brains! Awesome! He gets it, why do so many people not?

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donnaladd 3 years, 9 months ago

I'm disappointed in Stamps on this one. He seems smart enough to do his homework instead of passing along false NRA memes. It's easy enough to debunk the myth and anyone who knows anything about where gun crimes actually tend to happen know that they are very likely to happen in places with the loosest gun laws: in general, the more guns, the more likely it is that people use them. That's rather common sense. Of course, some people only believe stuff they want to believe, but Stamps strikes me as smarter than those folks.

Here are several pieces about this myth that link out to other interesting stuff:

NRA's gun-free zone myth

No Relationship between gun-free zones and mass shootings

List of related studies

National Criminal Justice Reference Service

Journal of American Medicine - Study: Firearm Legislation and Firearm-Related Fatalities in the United States

Does strengthening self-defense law deter crime or escalate violence? Evidence from castle doctrine - See more at: http://journalistsresource.org/studie... (Findings: Homicide increased in places with Castle Doctrine)

Stand Your Ground Laws, Homicides, and Injuries (Stand Your Ground laws increase homicides among whites, but not blacks; they also increase emergency room visits for serious injuries)

National Bureau of Economic Research (Making it easier to use guns for "self-defense" actually increased homicides 8 percent in those places, most classifieds as murders)

Study: Guns contribute to escalation and lethality of violence

That's just a start. I urge Councilman Stamps to get more educated about this issue.

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donnaladd 3 years, 9 months ago

Also worth considering:

White people who kill black people in 'Stand Your Ground' states are 354% more likely to be cleared of murder

It seems rather obvious that that's the point, no? It reminds me of my research on the Americans for the Preservation of the White Race in Mississippi--one of their main purposes was to raise money to pay for the defense of the Klansmen who did the dirty work for them and their fellow upstanding citizens of the Citizens Council. Now, we pass laws to make it easier for whites to kill blacks, even if they're just walking up on their porch because their car broke down. We're moving backward fast with this crap.

P.S. This piece was reposted proudly on the forums of a white-supremacist website. Great company to keep.

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BIGAL 3 years, 9 months ago

Ms. Ladd, Please You are better than that. You know without me or anyone else pointing it out that ALL of your links are to well known anti-gun organizations. All I have to use are pro gun sources in an effort to debunk all of your links. The dilemma for both of us is there is no middle ground when it comes to 2A issues. I hear the word reasonable restrictions used a lot by the anti-gun lobby. My question to those people is, what is their description of reasonable? One flaw in the gun free zone argument by the writer of the Mother Jones article is clearly stated in the body of the article. The shooters either committed suicide, or were killed by someone with a gun in the protection of others. Therefore we really have no way of knowing if his argument has merit, sense we can't ask those people, can we? We can debate this issue until the sun quits rising and we will never agree on the principle of self defense. I have been involved in a situation when the presence of a weapon changed a bad guys mind. Have you? I know, despite what the most ardent anti-gun person says or does, that the presence of a weapon in my hand and my willingness to use it possibly saved at least one life (mine) and quite possibly other members of my immediate family. I am no scholar nor am I a writer, but I am a believer in my right to self defense. I will fight with everything I have to defend that right. I do not understand why anyone wants to deny me that right? By the way, I will also fight to defend your rights to live and believe as you wish. All I ask is you be fair in your publication and present BOTH sides of the 2A debate. It is my ardent belief that without the Second Amendment the rest of the amendments would not be worth the paper they are written on. Have an awesome day.

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js1976 3 years, 9 months ago

"we pass laws to make it easier for whites to kill blacks, even if they're just walking up on their porch because their car broke down."

Theodore Wafer will face a grand jury In June for this incident.

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bubbat 3 years, 9 months ago

Wafer is going to trial in June, he's already been arraigned and charged with second-degree murder.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/15/theodore-wafer-not-guilty_n_4602300.html?ir=Black+Voices

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donnaladd 3 years, 9 months ago

Ms. Ladd, Please You are better than that. You know without me or anyone else pointing it out that ALL of your links are to well known anti-gun organizations

That isn't true, BigAl. And I knew that would be your first response.

Here's what exceptionally illogical about this response: Gun nuts will label any research, hospital, public-health expert, anybody, who actually (a) does deep research and/or (b) uses their common sense to come to conclusions that guns increase incidents and severity of violence" -- when the less-NRA-conditioned folks among us get the point that actual evidence can actually make smart people and organizations question the gun culture y'all are trying to push on us all. Here's a little news flash for you: We get to do our own homework, make our own decisions and then discuss if out loud, even if it offends gun wingers.

Have an awesome day.

js, he will face a grand jury -- and she is still dead.

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donnaladd 3 years, 9 months ago

(Bubba, we cannot post photos from other media outlets; thus why those posts aren't making it through.)

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js1976 3 years, 9 months ago

"js, he will face a grand jury -- and she is still dead."

Ok, so please tell me how that supports your argument any laws have been passed to make it easier for white people to kill blacks. Just in case your memory is fuzzy, Mr Williams was aided by the Castle Law. Do we need to discuss his race again?

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Turtleread 3 years, 9 months ago

Mr. Williams was NOT aided by the Castle Doctrine Law in the Q. Thomas case as he shot into a vehicle that he, a family member, or passenger was not occupying at the time. The law specify says that it does not apply in that instance. Mr. Williams was protected under earlier common law regarding "self-defense."

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BIGAL 3 years, 9 months ago

Here's what exceptionally illogical about this response: Gun nuts will label any research, hospital, public-health expert, anybody, who actually (a) does deep research and/or (b) uses their common sense to come to conclusions that guns increase incidents and severity of violence" -- when the less-NRA-conditioned folks among us get the point that actual evidence can actually make smart people and organizations question the gun culture y'all are trying to push on us all. Here's a little news flash for you: We get to do our own homework, make our own decisions and then discuss if out loud, even if it offends gun wingers.

How did I know you were going to follow the typical liberal policy of name calling, insulting and attacking ANYONE that doesn't agree as you do? Whose definition of common sense are you wanting to use? I guess the rest of my statement was garbage? I want you to do independent research and quote a source that does not lean to the left or use material paid for by left leaning people or organizations to support your agenda.

I have not called you names, nor have I said anything that could be considered as offensive yet you attack me because I believe differently than you? I do have a unbiased source to support my views that armed civilian's can and do prevent gun violence against themselves or others. The news. All three major networks( FOX and CNN cancel each other out) all across the USA report on a daily basis where a gun has been used to prevent or stop a crime. No one can ignore that, can they? I tried to reply to this article in a non offensive way and you chose to turn it into a name calling bash fest. But don't worry, I will still fight for your rights even as you disparage me for fighting for mine.... As far as pushing an agenda, maybe you need to do a quick self exam, as for me I can care less if you own a weapon or employ someone that does, so why do you care if I do?

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js1976 3 years, 9 months ago

Authorities informed the media outlets that Mr Williams was protected under the Castle Doctrine, and he obviously had no charges brought against him. So say what you will, he WAS indeed aided by the Castle Law. If this would have been brought before a grand jury, I will agree that self defense would have been his argument.

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Turtleread 3 years, 9 months ago

The fact of the matter is that if you do not know what the Castle Doctrine is nor what the law actually says, then the "authorities" could say anything or inform the media with any spin they wanted. A look at the law will confirm my assertion. As a tip of my hat to you, I will agree that perhaps the "atmosphere" of the Castle Doctrine law may have aided him, but not its actual wording.

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donnaladd 3 years, 9 months ago

Right. I have no knowledge of the authorities mentioning "common law" self-defense.

And even proponents of the Castle Doctrine should be able to see how this very likely would fall outside that very bad law.

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bubbat 3 years, 9 months ago

Donna- I have to disagree that our No Retreat law is bad, no one who obviously shoots or kills someone by any means in self defense, should have to be drag in front of the grand jury, when the initial police investigation at the scene of the event determines it was justifiable. That's why states have the No Retreat laws to keep innocent people from being charged with a crime, like some states do.

I don't really understand your " it's makes it easier for white people to kill black people" when even your study you posted about the percentages the researcher said that there only 25 cases of whites killing black out of 5000 cases he studied from the FBI data and those cases were spread over a period of 5yrs in states that had no treat laws and state that didn't.

Sure doesn't seem like no retreat laws have had any effect on the ease of whites killing blacks. And besides, just what whites want to kill blacks anyway, some dumbass Klukers who generally are all talk and and afraid of their own shadow?

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RonniM 3 years, 9 months ago

You won't find the words "Castle Doctrine" in the Mississippi Code. It is the common name for statute 97-3-15 , titled "Homicide; justifiable homicide; use of defensive force; duty to retreat." The statute number is 97-3-15. You can access it here: http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/mscode/.

I urge everyone who hasn't read the statute to read it. In case you're wondering, the statute has a Stand Your Ground element; it's the part about having no duty to retreat.

I suspect lawyers would defend Williams under any of these parts of 97-3-15 if he were ever indicted (emphasis mine):

"The killing of a human being by the act, procurement or omission of another shall be justifiable ...

(e) When committed by any person in resisting any attempt unlawfully to kill such person or to commit any felony upon him, or upon or in any dwelling, in any occupied vehicle, in any place of business, in any place of employment or in the immediate premises thereof in which such person shall be;

(f) When committed in the lawful defense of one's own person or any other human being, where there shall be reasonable ground to apprehend a design to commit a felony or to do some great personal injury, and there shall be imminent danger of such design being accomplished;

(g) When necessarily committed in attempting by lawful ways and means to apprehend any person for any felony committed ..."

The way I'm reading this, the law is written so broadly as to allow almost any justification for killing another, as long as someone can claim they were in danger and the victim was about to commit a felony. Anyone else reading something different here?

Of course, this is off topic. Sorry. It just keeps coming up.

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