Tuesday, the Mississippi House approved NRA-supported legislation that corrects vague and problematic language in Mississippi’s firearm carry laws by a 111-8 vote. House Bill 2, sponsored by state Representative Andy Gipson (R-Brandon), addresses a recent opinion by state Attorney General Jim Hood (D) that has caused confusion and concern among carry permit holders and Second Amendment advocates. According to this opinion, it is now unlawful for both regular and enhanced carry permit holders to carry holstered, partially-visible pistols on their person. Additionally, any permit holder who temporarily or accidentally displays their pistol -- when removing or adjusting a suit jacket or sport coat, for example -- would be violating the law.
If enacted, HB 2 would eliminate confusion by striking the phrase “in whole or in part” after the word “concealed” where it appears in Section 97-37-1 of Mississippi law prohibiting the carrying of certain firearms or other deadly weapons. It would also more clearly define the term “concealed” for carry permit holders and non-permittees alike. Without the proposed changes in HB 2, Mississippi laws that are supposed to protect the right to carry firearms for personal defense instead set legal traps for otherwise law-abiding citizens: a firearm carried by a person without a carry permit cannot be obscured, and any part of a pistol carried by a permit holder cannot become visible. For more information on the pro-gun reforms included in HB 2, click here.
The state House of Representatives also passed House Bill 485 by Representative Mark Baker (R-Brandon), an NRA-supported bill ensuring that personal information regarding carry permit holders and applicants remains confidential and exempt from the Mississippi Public Records Act. This measure passed by a 101-18 vote. Both HB 2 and HB 485 now go to the Senate for consideration.
The companion bill to HB 2, Senate Bill 2212 sponsored by Sen. Giles Ward (R-Louisville), was reported by the Senate Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks Committee on Monday and is now awaiting action by the full Senate. That committee also approved Senate Bill 2048 by Sen. Ward, NRA-backed legislation to fully include crossbows in archery and primitive weapons seasons.
Please contact your state Senator and urge them to support Senate Bills 2212 and 2048 as well as House Bills 2 and 485. Contact information for your state legislators can be found by clicking here.