NRA Explore
APPEARS IN Legal & Legislation

Swing and a Miss: Anti-Gunners Strike Out In Their Bid to Block Open Carry Law

Friday, August 30, 2013

On March 4, 2013, Governor Phil Bryant (R) signed Mississippi House Bill 2 into law.  Among other things, this legislation clarified Mississippi law regarding the open carrying of firearms.  Specifically, it limited the state's prohibition on the unlicensed carrying of handguns and certain other weapons to situations in which the item is "concealed on or about one's person …."  It also defined "concealed" to mean "hidden or obscured from common observation" and further explained that a "loaded or unloaded pistol carried upon the person in a … holster that is wholly or partially visible" does not fall within the prohibition on carrying concealed weapons.  The bill contained additional amendments that clearly established that the open carrying of a holstered handgun is not, in itself, a violation of law.

As we reported in July, the passage of HB 2 led to a frenzied and confused legal effort by a coalition of anti-gun officials to convince the courts to prevent the law from taking effect.  Their main complaint was that HB 2 was unconstitutionally vague. 

In rulings that surely will not burnish the judiciary's reputation for legal precision, a Hinds County circuit judge issued injunctions preventing the law from taking effect.  The state appealed to the Mississippi Supreme Court.  Your NRA participated in these proceedings with a "friend of the court" brief that explained how existing laws that were left undisturbed by HB 2 still allowed authorities to address the public safety concerns raised by the lower court concerning dangerous persons and misuse of weapons.

The lower court veered back and forth between two contradictory notions of vagueness.  One asserted that the meaning of the law was difficult to decipher from its text.  This was not an easy argument to make, since HB 2 actually provided a definition for the key term "concealed," which had previously been undefined.  The other argument was essentially that the law had to be vague because the obvious meaning of the text led to public policy that did not make sense to the court.  Yet as the State of Mississippi argued to the State Supreme Court, "The narrow statutory amendments in House Bill 2 are not vague merely because the legislature has chosen not to adopt regulations thought by the Plaintiffs to be beneficial."  The NRA also noted that "[w]hile the federal and state rights to arms … do not necessarily preclude every conceivable type of regulation on open carry, they certainly do not affirmatively require the state to regulate open carry in a specific manner to the liking of the [Plaintiffs]…."   

Fortunately, reason has prevailed at the Mississippi Supreme Court.  In a terse three-page order issued on August 29, 2013, the court not only lifted the order preventing the law from going into effect, but ruled that "the Circuit Judge erred as a matter of law when he found House Bill 2 to be vague and, therefore, unconstitutional" and in his finding that "'a reasonable person reading the bill could not discern what the law allows and what it prohibits.'"

House Bill 2 is now the law of the land in Mississippi, and Mississippi joins the dozens of other states that recognize open carry as a lawful means of exercising the right to bear arms.  The state Attorney General's Office deserves thanks and recognition for its able and vigorous defense of HB 2 and the rights of Mississippians.

TRENDING NOW

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Missouri: Permitless Carry Self-Defense Legislation Overwhelmingly Passes House, Headed to Senate

Today, the Missouri House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed House Bill 1468.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Connecticut: Anti-Gun Bills Expected for Floor Vote Tomorrow

One or both of the anti-gun bills, House Bill 5054 and House Bill 5623, may be called as early as tomorrow to go to the House floor for consideration by the full House of Representatives.  Both HB 5054 and ...

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

California: Anti-Gun Bills Still Alive After Policy Committee Deadline

After a busy week of hearings, Friday April 22nd marked the deadline for bills with a fiscal note to be passed out of their respective policy committees. Bills not meeting this deadline are considered defeated ...

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Oklahoma: Hunting with Suppressors Legislation Signed into Law

Yesterday, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed House Bill 2637 into law and it goes into effect immediately.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Michigan: Important Firearm Preemption Legislation Will Likely Receive Committee Vote Next Week

Next Wednesday, May 6, the House Local Government Committee is tentatively scheduled to consider and vote on House Bill 4795, as substituted.  HB 4795, sponsored by Chairman Lee Chatfield (R-District 107), is important legislation aimed ...

News  

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Merrick Garland MUST NOT be confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Senate needs to hear from you TODAY that Merrick Garland MUST NOT be confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

News  

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Political Report | Disarmament Cloaked as "Common Sense"

Gun control advocates have been at their civilian-disarmament campaign for so long that astute observers will notice the same tactics and approaches returning time and again to the political landscape. When the American public rejects ...

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Missouri: Urgent - Stand Your Ground Amendment to be Considered by Senate

Today, Missouri State Senator Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia) amended Senate Bill 663 with critical self-defense language, known as Stand Your Ground.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Connecticut: Gun Surrender Bill Moving through the General Assembly

Yesterday, April 27, House Bill 5054 passed the House of Representatives with a 104-42 vote.  HB 5054 is a large omnibus bill which threatens your Right to Keep and Bear Arms as well as your Fifth Amendment right to ...

Friday, April 29, 2016

Louisiana: House Committee to Vote Tuesday on Dangerous Bill Gutting Louisiana’s Firearms Preemption Law

Imagine the City of New Orleans having the statutory authority to pass any law they wanted governing the sale, purchase, possession, ownership, transfer, transportation, license, or registration of firearms and ammunition.

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -
NRA ILA

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.