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Mississippi Legislative Wrap-Up: Implementation of House Bill 506

Monday, September 19, 2011

New Law Affects Concealed Carry Permit Holders

During the 2011 Regular Session of the Mississippi Legislature, House Bill 506, legislation relating to prosecutors carrying weapons, passed with an NRA-supported amendment designed to allow concealed pistol permit holders who complete certain training requirements to protect themselves in locations previously prohibited by law.  This measure, signed into law by Governor Haley Barbour on March 11, contains language which reads as follows:  

"a person licensed under Section 45-9-101 to carry a concealed pistol, who has voluntarily completed an instructional course in the safe handling and use of firearms offered by an instructor certified by a nationally recognized organization that customarily offers firearms training, or by any other organization approved by the Department of Public Safety, shall also be authorized to carry weapons in courthouses, except in courtrooms during a judicial proceeding, and any location listed in subsection (13) of Section 45-9-101, except any place of nuisance as defined in Section 95-3-1, any police, sheriff or highway patrol station or any detention facility, prison or jail.  The department shall promulgate rules and regulations allowing concealed pistol permit holders to obtain an endorsement on their permit indicating that they have completed the aforementioned course and have the authority to carry in these locations."  

This law took effect on July 1, 2011.  Implementation was delayed for a short time while NRA-ILA along with NRA-certified instructors and local activists provided important information to the Mississippi Department of Public Safety (DPS) on available NRA training programs.  Lawmakers who authored the amendment (state Representatives Greg Snowden, Philip Gunn, and Mark Formby) voiced their opinion that training requirements not be made too onerous for individuals who wish to obtain a special endorsement on their carry permits.  The NRA appreciates the work done by DPS as well as their responsiveness thus far to most concerns raised and suggestions offered, and also the work done by organizations and individuals who are interested in seeing this new law work as it was intended.  We also thank the offices of Governor Barbour and Lieutenant Governor Phil Bryant for helping facilitate communication between the agency and interested parties.

If you would like to obtain the special endorsement for your Mississippi Concealed Carry permit to legally carry in additional locations outlined under the new law, you must complete a training course taught by an Enhanced Permit Certified Firearms Instructor.  A list of those instructors is available on the Mississippi Department of Public Safety's website here.  Classes must be a minimum of eight hours in length and include instruction on state laws relating to the carrying of firearms and the use of deadly force.  Upon successful completion of the course, you will be issued a standardized DPS-approved certificate by your instructor.  This certificate, along with your valid carry permit, will then need to be taken to any DPS Firearms Permit Unit location. Where DPS will issue you a sticker endorsement to adhere to your permit.  There is no cost for this service and the endorsement is valid for the remainder of the term of that specific permit.  Training completed prior to July 1, 2011 – the effective date of the act – will not be recognized for purposes of obtaining a special endorsement.  Individuals holding out-of-state licenses that currently enjoy reciprocal privileges in Mississippi are not eligible to receive this endorsement.

If you are an instructor certified to teach NRA's Basic Pistol and Personal Protection courses and wish to apply to be listed on the DPS website, you need to submit proof of your current certification in-person to DPS at their office in Jackson.  You will be required to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Department and apply for recognition annually (though subsequent approval will not require an in-person visit).

Special Note:  An opinion issued on August 31, 2011, by Attorney General Jim Hood states that a concealed pistol permit holder with a training endorsement would not violate section 97-37-1 (the general prohibition on carrying concealed weapons) by carrying a concealed weapon into publicly-accessible areas of courthouses or other county property, even if the county has posted statutory notice that carrying a pistol or revolver is banned in the premises.  Courtrooms where judicial proceedings are taking place remain off-limits to civilian permit holders, regardless of whether they have an endorsement.  A copy of that opinion can be found by clicking here. 

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.