By Bobby Harrison
Daily Journal Jackson Bureau
JACKSON — The nine-member state Supreme Court, without a dissenting opinion, is allowing to go into effect a law that lets Mississippians carry guns and other weapons in plain sight.
The law, passed by the 2013 Legislature, was blocked earlier this summer by Hinds County Circuit Judge Winston Kidd who ruled it “unconstitutionally vague” and would create havoc for law enforcement and the community.
But Justice Randy Grant Pierce, who wrote the opinion for the state’s highest court, said the circuit judge “erred” in blocking the enactment of the law.
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 said, gives the Legislature the authority to regulate concealed carry, but not the authority to regulate open carry.
Still, he conceded that, though, the language in the Constitution allows the open carry of weapons with no permit, the issue had never been decided by the Courts.
Gipson’s bill deals primarily with concealed carry issues but in doing so clarifies that anyone had the right to open carry.
Kidd blocked enactment of the law in late June after law enforcement, primarily from Hinds County, filed a lawsuit. After Kidd’s ruling, Attorney General Jim Hood filed an appeal with the Supreme Court asking the high court to expedite a ruling on the issue.