(DeSoto County, MS) Harvey Hatfield says he’s upset a Hinds County Judge has put himself in the center of a state-wide gun debate.
”A judge should not be able to make a decision to knock down a law like that,” Hatfield said.
Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood agrees, which is why he’s appealing the judge’s delay of the state’s new “open carry” law to the State Supreme Court.
Circuit Judge Winston Kidd ruled the law “unconstitutionally vague” and sent it back to lawmakers.
Lawmakers say the law was only meant to define what’s already guaranteed in the Mississippi Constitution.
”It’s not a new law, it’s not a new bill, it’s nothing new. It’s just a clarification,” said Rep. Gene Alday (R-Walls).
In his appeal, Hood said, “Each day the law remains enjoined threatens citizens with criminal arrest for actions not deemed to be a crime by the Legislature.”
Attorney General Hood’s Argument boils down to one central theme: although a judge doesn’t like the law the legislature passed, they can’t delay or suspend a constitutional right.
After all, lawmakers say voters elected THEM to represent their interests, not judges.
”The judge has no business in this because we’re the lawmakers; he’s not the lawmaker,” said Alday.
And while even some law officers still have concerns with the new law, Hatfield says it seems to work fine in other places.
”I had a friend in Alaska who said when he lived there they carried ‘em in the open all the time in some of the towns and they didn’t have a problem with it,” Hatfield said.
There’s no word on when the Mississippi Supreme Court might make a ruling.