In January, the state House of Representatives passed NRA-supported House Bill 485, sponsored by Representative Mark Baker (R-Brandon), by a 101 to 18 vote. This measure was then sent to the Senate where, under the leadership of Senator Briggs Hopson (R-Vicksburg) and his colleagues on the Senate Judiciary A Committee, it was approved by the state Senate by a 49 to 2 vote. Governor Phil Bryant (R) signed HB 485 into law today, and it took effect immediately.
HB 485 ensures that personal information regarding carry permit holders and applicants remains confidential and exempt from the Mississippi Public Records Act. This information is only to be released upon order of a court having proper jurisdiction over a petition for release of the record or records. Mississippi became the 33rd state to provide such privacy protection for law-abiding gun owners.
Governor Bryant signed another pro-gun reform today, which will take effect on July 1 of this year. House Bill 2, sponsored by state Representative Andy Gipson (R-Brandon) in the House and managed by Senator Giles Ward (R) in the Senate, 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 unlawful under current law for both regular and enhanced carry permit holders to carry holstered, partially-visible pistols on their person. Additionally, any carry 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.
HB 2 will 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 also more clearly defines the term “concealed” for carry permit holders and non-permittees alike. Without the 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.
In addition to the work of the House and Senate bill sponsors, we also appreciate the leadership and support of House Speaker Philip Gunn and Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves on these important issues. Thank you to all NRA members who called and e-mailed their elected officials in support of these important measures.