OXFORD – Lafayette County supervisors on Monday repealed the county ban on armed civilians in courthouses – an ordinance that arguably conflicted with two state laws and could have left supervisors individually liable for $1,000 in damages. In doing so, however, they hinted they will welcome judicial action on the issue.
“In light of recent statutory changes in rights to bear arms on public property in particular, it required that we relook at our ordinance,” said Board Attorney David O’Donnell. “We also received an administrative complaint from the Attorney General’s Office.”
A 2012 state law allows people with enhanced firearms permits, which require eight hours of state-certified training, to carry a concealed handgun in a number of places off limits to those with regular permits. In addition, a 2013 law established the legality of open carry in Mississippi.
Several municipalities and counties, citing public safety concerns, have since enacted their own local bans on carrying firearms in various public spaces.
The 2014 Legislature provided that citizens can now sue local officials personally who enact or enforce gun bans that conflict with state law.
Complaints must be made to the Attorney General’s Office, which must investigate. If a conflict is found, the offending entity has 30 days to rescind its ban before civil damages can be sought by the person affected.