Urge Your State Senators to Support House Bill 1083
On Wednesday, the Mississippi House passed House Bill 1083 by Rep. Andy Gipson (R-Braxton) on an 80-29 vote, sending the measure to the Senate for consideration. HB 1083 upholds the original intent of Mississippi's enhanced carry permit law and establishes a process for law-abiding citizens to challenge state entities that have wrongly excluded enhanced permit holders from their premises. Please contact your State Senators and politely urge them to support HB 1083. Please also thank your Representative if they supported HB 1083 in the House.
Rep. Gipson introduced HB 1083 to address countless complaints he and his colleagues have received from enhanced carry permit holders across Mississippi who are being prohibited from exercising their rights under the 7-year old enhanced carry permit law. That law was created in 2011, the result of an NRA-backed amendment successfully authored by Reps. Philip Gunn, Greg Snowden and Mark Formby to House Bill 506 – a bill dealing with the carrying of firearms by prosecutors. HB 506 as amended passed the House WITHOUT OBJECTION that session and was signed into law by Governor Haley Barbour (R). (Ironically, most of the Representatives who argued against HB 1083 on the House floor this week were present for the debate on, and voted for, HB 506.)
Obtaining an enhanced carry endorsement for a concealed pistol permit involves completion of a minimum of 8 hours of classroom and live-fire range instruction from a DPS-approved instructor, including a review of the legal requirements of concealed carry in Mississippi and laws relating to the use of deadly force. The intent and purpose of HB 506 as amended was to allow concealed pistol permit holders who complete these training requirements to be able to protect themselves in all locations that regular permit holders without the training could not carry [see those listed in Mississippi Code Section 45-9-101(13)]. The ONLY places where enhanced carry permit holders would not be able to carry under the law were courtrooms, police stations or jails, and places of nuisance. HB 506 was supposed to eliminate “gun-free” zones for this population -- including locations which have proven to be soft targets for criminals and perpetrators of mass shootings. But over the years, state and local governmental entities have thumbed their nose at the Legislature and unlawfully continued to impose restrictions on trained, law-abiding enhanced carry permit holders.
The Legislature is not plowing new ground with HB 1083. The bill's main purpose is to establish a process for enhanced carry permit holders to challenge policies and signage that are unlawfully restricting them from carrying on public property under the control of state entities. In fact, it mirrors the process put in place by House Bill 314 from 2014 for law-abiding citizens to challenge unlawful restrictions imposed on them by municipalities and counties. If state agencies or state public institutions aren't violating the intent, language and spirit of the existing enhanced carry permit law, they should have no concerns with this legislation.
In the coming weeks, you'll no doubt hear a parade of horrible and not-so-veiled threats from entities that have acted outside the scope of the law for years -- and who, under this legislation, could finally be held accountable for restricting law-abiding enhanced carry permit holders. That's why it's critical that you contact your State Senators and urge them to SUPPORT HB 1083.