Rep. Andy Gipson, R-Braxton, thinks a state record-keeping requirement for gun dealers is redundant.
Photo by Courtesy Mississippi House of Representatives
Mississippi already exports more firearms than any other state, but some legislators want to relax our gun laws even more.
In the coming weeks, the Senate will consider three gun bills that sailed through the House in early March with little vocal opposition. The three pieces of legislation, all backed by the Fairfax, Va.-based National Rifle Association, would either increase the number of firearms in the Magnolia State or make it more difficult to reduce the number of guns around the state.
House Bill 695 would require Mississippi to recognize gun-carry permits from other states. The measure, which Rep. John Moore, R-Brandon sponsored, passed 107 to 3 and the Senate's Republican leadership assigned it to the Senate Judiciary A Committee, which Sen. W. Briggs Hopson III, R-Vicksburg, chairs.
Rep. Andy Gipson, R-Braxton, sponsored House Bill 455, which repeals a state recordkeeping requirement for licensed gun dealers. Supporters, Gipson included, argue that federal recordkeeping laws make Mississippi's laws redundant and, therefore, unnecessary. HB 455 passed 98 to 21 and the Senate's Republican leadership assigned it to the Senate Judiciary B Committee, which Democratic Rep. Hob Bryan, of Amory, chairs.
Finally, HB 627, sponsored by Rep. Gary Chism, R-Columbus, prohibits state and local governments from participating in gun buy-back programs, which aim to take guns that might be used in crimes off the streets. Chism's bill, which passed the House 92 to 28, is also assigned to Judiciary B.
In a telephone interview this morning, Doug Bowser, president of the Mississippi chapter of the NRA, characterized gun buyback programs as a "swindle" and "a feel-good thing" that do little to deter violent crime.
"I think the worst part is that people bring in unserviceable guns, and they get money for them," Bowser said. Bowser said he believes local governments should put more resources on imposing harsher penalties on criminals.
The 2010 report "Trace the Guns: The Link Between Gun Laws and Interstate Trafficking" determined that Mississippi supplied 50 out-of-state "crime guns" per 100,000 residents--triple the national average of 14.1.
A message left for NRA public-affairs director Andrew Arulanandam was not immediately returned this morning. However, in a statement criticizing the Delaware Senate's passage of a pilot gun buyback program, the NRA responded: "This legislation is nothing more then an expensive solution in search of a problem.
"While proponents of this bill claim it will reduce crime in Delaware, it will only serve as another drain on taxpayer money that could be better used by police to enforce current law. The average person who voluntarily surrenders a firearm to police is not a criminal, and the firearms surrendered are not those misused by criminals."