NRA Explore
APPEARS IN Legal & Legislation

Mississippi Supreme Court Upholds Law Clarifying Carry Rules

Friday, January 17, 2014

On August 29, 2013, the Mississippi Supreme Court unanimously upheld a recently-enacted law that sought to restore the right to carry firearms openly within the state. Since an unfavorable decision in 1908, Mississippi’s ban on carrying a firearm that was concealed “in whole, or in part” was interpreted so strictly that one judge had opined that even the carrying a firearm by a leather string would violate the ban, as the string would obscure at least part of the firearm. Acccordingly, anyone lacking a Mississippi carry permit was unable to carry a pistol about his or her person without violating the law. Further, the law was interpreted so that any permit holder whose concealed firearm was partially revealed - while the person adjusted his or her clothes, for example – would run afoul of the law.

In February 2013, the Mississippi legislature approved HB 2 which clarified that “’concealed’ means hidden or obscured from common observation and shall not include any weapon listed in subsection (1) of this section, including, but not limited to, a loaded or unloaded pistol carried upon the person in a sheath, belt holster or shoulder holster that is wholly or partially visible, or carried upon the person in a scabbard or case for carrying the weapon that is wholly or partially visible.” On March 4, 2013, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed HB 2 into law, with the new rule set to take effect the following July 1st.

However, in late June, a group led by Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith, and backed by the inaccurately-named Southern Poverty Law Center, filed a suit to block the new law.  On June 28, 2013, Hinds County Circuit Court Judge Winston Kidd granted an injunction to prevent the law from taking effect. Kidd accepted the plaintiffs’ argument that the law was unconstitutionally vague and that a "reasonable person reading the bill could not discern what the law allows and what it prohibits." Despite the fact that the majority of states have for some time recognized as legal various forms of open carry, SPLC attorney Jody Owens argued, “The plaintiffs are trying to stop mayhem. We're looking at a wild, wild West scenario.” In a bizarre and novel legal strategy, the opponents of the new law also claimed that the state of Mississippi is obligated by the state constitution to restrict the open carry of firearms.

On July 22, 2013, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood filed a petition for interlocutory appeal and motion to vacate permanent injunction with the state Supreme Court, seeking to overturn Kidd’s ruling. Days later, separate friend of the court briefs were filed on behalf of Gov. Bryant, a coalition of 80 state senators, and NRA, supporting Hood’s petition. 

The NRA brief countered the “wild West” hyperbole advanced by Smith and the SPLC, explaining that the changes in the law are easily understood and that federal and Mississippi laws contain numerous other firearm regulations aimed at preserving the public peace, which laws would continue to be enforceable under HB 2. The brief cited, for example, federal and state laws which bar felons from possessing firearms and establish various sensitive places where firearms may not be carried. Further, the brief explains that while the state is precluded from some onerous firearms regulations under the U.S. and Mississippi constitutions, the state is certainly not required to regulate open carry “in a specific manner to the liking” of Smith and SPLC.

Thankfully, the nine Mississippi Supreme Court justices agreed with the Attorney General’s Office and the NRA, determining that the arguments accepted by the lower court were without merit and overturning its injunction.  Their terse, no-nonsense order stated: “This Court finds that the Circuit Judge erred as a matter of law when he found House Bill 2 to be vague and, therefore, unconstitutional. He also erred when he stated that ‘a reasonable person reading the bill could not discern what the law allows and what it prohibits.’” 

Since the Mississippi Supreme Court’s ruling, open carry has been the law of the land in the Magnolia State.  Needless to say, life has continued as normal for Mississippians, and the Wild West scenario breathlessly advanced by the SPLC and the other plaintiffs has not come to pass.

TRENDING NOW
California: Governor Brown Takes Action on Final Firearm-Related Bills

Monday, September 26, 2016

California: Governor Brown Takes Action on Final Firearm-Related Bills

Today, Governor Brown made his decision on the final firearm-related bills of the 2016 legislative session that made it to his desk.   Governor Brown vetoed two anti-gun bills, AB 450 and SB 1332, and signed ...

Show Your Support—NEW NRA Yard Signs Available!

News  

Friday, September 23, 2016

Show Your Support—NEW NRA Yard Signs Available!

Show your support for NRA and the Second Amendment this election cycle by purchasing an NRA yard sign.  With everything that is at stake this year, including the Presidency, the balance of the U.S. Senate ...

Not The Victim Hillary Needs

News  

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Not The Victim Hillary Needs

This feature appears in the October ‘16 issue of NRA America’s 1st Freedom, one of the official journals of the National Rifle Association. “Why can’t everyone just have their DNA on file? Then it would ...

War on Terror or a War on Guns?

News  

Friday, September 23, 2016

War on Terror or a War on Guns?

Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, was in New York City recently on an official visit. Commenting on the bombs that exploded while he was in town, he opined that such attacks are now simply ...

Virginia Politician and Clinton Backer Brands Trump Supporters as “Mentally Deficient”

News  

Friday, September 23, 2016

Virginia Politician and Clinton Backer Brands Trump Supporters as “Mentally Deficient”

With the presidential race tighter than ever as it heads into its final stretch, panicked Hillary Clinton supporters are desperate to find a way to discredit, not just Donald Trump, but anyone who would dare ...

California: Referendum Update

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

California: Referendum Update

On behalf of the National Rifle Association (NRA), we would like to thank all of the volunteers and individuals who participated in the Veto Gunmageddon ballot referendum qualification effort.  Despite the tremendous efforts of all involved, ...

Montana: Bloomberg Targeting Missoula – Your Action Needed NOW!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Montana: Bloomberg Targeting Missoula – Your Action Needed NOW!

On Monday, September 26, the Missoula City Council is scheduled to consider an ordinance that would only create a burden for law-abiding citizens and may turn them into criminals if they unknowingly violate the ordinance.

Get the Official NRA-ILA App for an Exclusive NRA Store Discount!

Take Action  

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Get the Official NRA-ILA App for an Exclusive NRA Store Discount!

For a limited time only, the official NRA Store is offering a special deal to anyone who downloads the NRA-ILA App! Once the app is installed on your smartphone, you’ll receive a discount code that you can ...

Pennsylvania: Semi-Automatic Rifle Hunting Legislation will go to the House Floor Next Week!

Hunting  

Friday, September 23, 2016

Pennsylvania: Semi-Automatic Rifle Hunting Legislation will go to the House Floor Next Week!

Next week, and important pro-hunting reform bill, Senate Bill 737, may be considered in the House of Representatives.  Please call your state Representative and urge them to vote in favor of Senate Bill 737!

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

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.