Sheriff Questioning New Mississippi Gun Laws
(Senatobia, MS) A law that allows people in Mississippi to openly carry a gun almost wherever they want without a license is getting support from the state’s attorney general, but concerns some law enforcement.
Starting July 1, 2013, people in the state can also openly carry without a permit.
Right now in Mississippi, the law says a gun has to be totally visible to be considered open carry.
But Tate County Sheriff Brad Lance says under the new law, only part of the gun has to be visible.
This could mean just part of the handle sticking out of your pocket or even the tip of the barrel hanging out from under a jacket, so you can tell it’s a gun.
That has some local law enforcement all around the state concerned, so Sheriff Lance sent in a few questions to Mississippi’s attorney general about the law.
Thursday, he issued the answers, saying someone can openly carry a firearm into any public building including the courthouse, but not the courtroom.
Sheriff Lance says he’s trying to figure out a way to guard the courthouse, which isn’t normally guarded, because of the new law.
“We don’t have the manpower a lot of largest counties have to station deputies at the courthouse,” said Lance.
You still cannot openly carry a gun into a school in Mississippi and a private business has the right to ban them.
Lance says another concern is the department’s lack of control when they see someone walking down the street with a gun.
“We have no authority to approach them to ask them for identification or to ask them if they are a convicted felon without some probable cause,” said Lance.
The law says they can ask, but the person doesn’t have to answer.
Lance says if the person then commits a crime, it could fall back on police.
Gwen Hogan lives in Senatobia and has her concealed carry license, but doesn’t think the new law will be much of an issue.
“I feel safe here in Senatobia, I guess! I mean, I don’t have any reason to carry a gun around here. It’s a nice, safe town,” said Hogan.
The attorney general says the law doesn’t just apply to firearms, it applies to any deadly weapon.
All of the concealed laws will remain the same.