AG: Gun ruling doesn’t apply statewide

Jim Hood

Jim Hood

By Bobby Harrison
Daily Journal Jackson Bureau

JACKSON – Attorney General Jim Hood says the ruling last week by a Hinds County circuit judge blocking the enactment of a law clarifying Mississippi as a state where people can openly carry a weapon doesn’t apply outside the judge’s Hinds County jurisdiction.

“I do not believe that the injunction would prevent someone outside Hinds County, who was openly carrying a weapon, from using the statute as a defense,” Hood said in a statement. “In other words, the judge’s decision would only prevent Hinds County residents from availing themselves of the defenses contained in the new law.”

Still, the Democratic attorney general said “due to all of the confusion caused by this injunction,” he hopes the state Supreme Court will agree to his request that it consider the issue “and end this matter.”

On Friday, Hinds County Circuit Judge Winston Kidd blocked the enactment of the open carry law approved by the 2013 Legislature because he said it was vague and would create chaos for law enforcement and the general public.
State Sen. John Horhn, D-Jackson, who was among a handful of legislators who along with Hinds County law enforcement officials and others sued to block the law, said Friday it is his understanding that Kidd’s ruling does apply statewide.
Sheriffs in both DeSoto and Tate counties in northwest Mississippi have said the open carry law is in effect despite the judge’s ruling.

Hood said that technically a judge’s ruling only applies in his or her district. “However, in such a case where the Court has enjoined the state from enforcing a statute, the state is prevented from enforcing the statute statewide,” he said. “In this particular case, the statute is not an enforcement statute. It is simply a statute that clarified when a weapon is considered to be concealed under our criminal law.”

The issue is confusing because the law clarifies the regulations on concealed carry while at the same time affirming anyone who can legally purchase a weapon has the authority to carry it openly with no permit.

Rep. Andy Gipson, R-Braxton, the author of the legislation, has maintained that the 1890s Mississippi Constitution, not his bill, gives Mississippians the right to openly carry a weapon. The Constitution, he maintains, gives the Legislature the authority to regulate concealed carry, but not the authority to regulate open carry.

Gipson’s bill deals primarily with concealed carry issues but in doing so clarifies that anyone had the right to open carry.

Gipson said, “The Court believes its order applies statewide. Whether it does or not is irrelevant because in the interim it is having a chilling effect on individual constitutional rights to keep and bear arms. Were a law-abiding citizen arrested for merely exercising the right to keep and bear arms for self-protection, I think that could give rise to a constitutional violation.”

Chickasaw County Sheriff Jimmy Simmons, said he is under the impression the court ruling applied statewide, but in the meantime, he is telling businesses they can put up signs to ban weapons on their property.

“Anybody after all the killings in schools with guns, guns don’t kill people, but people with guns in their hands do, would want to put guns in everybody’s hands…that doesn’t make good sense,” he said.
Union County Sheriff Jimmy Edwards said his office also has advised some businesses to put up signs banning weapons, and that signs have been installed in many county buildings, including the courthouse and the jail.

He said, as he understands the law, a person carrying a weapon in a business banning weapons, could be charged with trespassing.

  • Beauregard Rippy

    Do not do business with businesses that put up signs banning weapons. They are endangering your safety plus violating your constitutional rights. AND tell them your are not doing business with them and why.

    • Obama_dogeater

      I’ll take my money elsewhere.

    • Thile

      How were those businesses endangering your safety and violating your constitutional rights prior to this law going into effect? Are you going to return all those purchases you made with said businesses?

    • Actually read the Constitution

      The Bill of Rights only restricts actions by the government. They do not apply to private property or private businesses. If I want all my customers to wear a chicken suit, hop on one leg and cluck to make a purchase, I can, and it does not violate the constitution.

  • Stewart

    I agree,,, simply do not trade with a business that does not support the second amendment!!!!!

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  • Byron

    I think the Union County Sheriff needs to clarify his statement. A person can be asked to leave a publicly open business which is privately owned, and on refusal, can be charged with trespassing. Not simply for being there to start with. As others have said, I will take my American dollar to businesses that are not Anti-American. They may claim not to be, but attempting to deny the right of another citizen is an infringement. They who give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. – Ben Franklin

    • Redneck

      a publicly open business which is privately owned, and on refusal, can be charged with trespassing. Not simply for being there to start with. This is Right , you know the law , most people don’t !!!

  • SnottieDrippen

    As a business owner I have to ask those posting that they’re boycotting stores: Why do you suddenly feel so unsafe now in a business you previously patronized? Your argument is irrational, and if you’re itching to pack heat that badly, it’s probably best that you take your monies elsewhere.

    • Stephanie Chesney

      Because we always carried a gun in there before now. Unless you are providing security in the form of an armed guard, you should not deny me the right to defend myself and my children.

      • countrydawg

        Guess you homeschool your kids, don’t shop at Walmart or grocery stores, or you just avoid public spaces in general.

        • Stephanie Chesney

          No they go to school and I shop All of those places with my gun. It’s called an endorsed permit.

          • countrydawg

            Thanks for replying. I have no problem with responsible, concealed carry permit-holders. It’s the irresponsible ones I’m worried about with this new law.

          • Victor Brueggemann

            If they are concealed, how can you even tell which ones they are, much less who’s responsible or not? Sounds like you’re painting them all with the same overly-broad brush, to me.

          • Redneck

            Enhanced Permit

    • Greg

      My question is, why are you suddenly scared of law abiding
      armed citizens? Do you support the right to keep and BEAR arms or not?
      Obviously not if you are afraid to be around people that are armed.

      Do you really think criminals are going to obey your signs?
      You think they’ll walk up, see the sign, and say, “Ah shucks! I can’t rob this
      business because they don’t allow guns.”? That’s not very rational is it?

      The facts are that criminals do and will SEEK gun free zones
      out as places to do their deeds because it’s a lot safer for them. It’s a fact
      that James Holmes, the Colorado Theatre Shooter, drove past several theatres to
      get to one that was gun free to shoot up.

      Contrary to popular liberal rhetoric, law abiding armed
      citizens make society SAFER not more dangerous. The deadliest cities in the US
      also have the toughest gun laws in the US. You think there may be a correlation
      there? I do.

    • Americasgone

      Please tell what business you own so I can boycott it.

      • countrydawg

        If it’s a book store, you probably already boycott it.

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