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How to carry a gun in Mississippi: New laws explained

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Old March 6th, 2017, 06:11 PM   #1
 
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How to carry a gun in Mississippi: New laws explained

The following is an article written by a friend of mine.
I posted as a reply to another post, but thought you might get more out of it as a stand alone.

How to carry a gun in Mississippi: New laws explained by Rick Ward

In relatively short order since Republicans took control of the Legislature in 2012, Mississippi’s gun laws have changed from fairly restrictive to among the most permissive in the country.

On April 15, Gov. Phil Bryant signed into law a measure making Mississippi one of 11 states that allows “constitutional carry,” or carrying a concealed firearm without a state-issued concealed carry permit. However, there are still caveats as to how and where someone can carry a concealed gun without a permit.

These new gun laws have brought some confusion among gun-owning residents and even law enforcement about what the new laws allow or don’t allow. In some cases, laws appear to conflict or leave room for interpretation. Many of the state’s newer gun laws have not been thoroughly tested by the courts.

Below this section is an explainer of the laws and regulations and answers to some frequent questions about carrying firearms with or without a permit in Mississippi.

State House Judiciary Chairman Andy Gipson, R-Braxton, has sponsored most of the new legislation and shepherded it to passage in the Legislature. Veteran law enforcement officer, firearms trainer and author Rick Ward has helped author and lobby for the more permissive gun legislation over many years.

An explanation of Mississippi’s gun laws and regulations and answers to some frequent questions according to state law, Gipson, Ward and opinions from Attorney General Jim Hood’s office:

What are some recent changes in gun law in Mississippi?

2011: The Legislature created the “enhanced carry” permit providing broad carry rights. To receive this endorsement on one's concealed carry permit (issued by the Department of Public Safety), a person must complete an eight-hour class conducted by a nationally certified firearms trainer. This enhanced permit allows the person to carry into places otherwise prohibited by law (more below).

2013: A law clarified that “open carry” of a firearm, at least partially visible outside of clothing, is allowed in public by the Mississippi Constitution. Gipson and others say the state constitution allows the Legislature to regulate only concealed carry of a weapon. The AG has opined that local governments can place some restrictions on open carry in sensitive locations and that it is prohibited on school property. The law has not been extensively tested in courts.

2014: A law passed that allows people to challenge local governments that adopt firearms regulations more restrictive than state laws. Government boards can declare some places – generally those not open to the general public – as sensitive areas and ban firearms there. But the law passed in 2014 also allows a process for people to appeal such decisions and to require specific signage.

2015: The governor signed what’s been called “purse carry” into law. This allows Mississippians to carry guns concealed in a purse, brief case, satchel or bag without a permit, subject to places restricted (below).

2016: The bill Gov. Bryant signed into law last month makes Mississippi one of 11 states that allows “constitutional carry” of a firearm concealed without a state permit. The new law says the gun must be in a holster or sheath, not just in a pocket or waistband.

Types of carry

Open: According to the state constitution and a 2013 law clarifying the issue, Mississippians over the age of 18 (federal law requires people be 21 for purchase) can carry a firearm in a holster, sheath or scabbard that is at least partially visible above clothing anywhere where guns are not otherwise prohibited. The attorney general has opined that some restrictions that apply to concealed carry (see below) also apply to open carry – such as carrying on school property – while others say the state constitution prohibits the Legislature or local governments from restricting open carry. Private property owners can prohibit open carry as described below for concealed carry.

Concealed without permit: A law effective April 15 allows Mississippians, without a permit, to carry concealed firearms – “hidden or obscured from common observation” – as long as they are in a holster or sheath. A previous law allows such permit-less concealed carry in a purse, satchel, briefcase or bag. However, one cannot carry a gun without a permit into:

• A police, sheriff’s or highway patrol station.
• A school – elementary, secondary, community college or university – except for an authorized firearm-related activity.
• A detention facility, prison or jail.
• A courthouse or courtroom.
• A polling place for elections.
• A meeting place of a governing body, including the Legislature and legislative committee meetings.
• A school, college or professional athletic event not related to firearms.
• Bars, or the bar areas of restaurants or any area of an establishment primarily devoted to dispensing alcoholic beverages.
• An airport terminal, except properly baggage guns to be checked for lawful transporting on an aircraft.
• A church or place of worship – except as provided in a new law for a church’s authorized armed security team.
• Any place where carrying a firearm is prohibited by federal law (such as a federal courthouse or post office).
• A private business or property that properly posts (see details below) notice that firearms are banned.
• Any area that has been declared a “place of nuisance” because of illegal activity.

Concealed carry with standard permit: Someone with a standard state concealed carry permit – who undergoes a background check and fingerprinting – is still prohibited from carrying in the areas listed above for permit-less carry, such as courtrooms, polling places, bars and schools. So why get this permit? Gipson noted more than 30 other states allow some form of “reciprocity” concealed carry for Mississippians with a permit and those with a permit are exempt from having another background check when they purchase a gun.

Concealed carry with “enhanced” permit: Those who undergo eight hours of certified training can receive an endorsement on their concealed carry permit that allows them to carry in most places otherwise restricted. But an enhanced permit holder still cannot carry in:

• An area declared a place of nuisance.
• A police, sheriff or Highway Patrol station.
• A detention facility, prison or jail.
• Any place where carrying a firearm is prohibited by federal law (such as a federal courthouse or post office).
• A private business or property that properly posts (see below) notice that firearms are banned. An enhanced permit holder could face trespassing charges, but not a violation of concealed carry law.
• A courtroom while court is in session.

While one section of state law says an enhanced permit holder can carry on school, community college or university property, another says it’s illegal. An AG’s opinion from 2012 says campus carry is allowed for enhanced permit holders.

State law says someone not attending or working for a school can possess a firearm in their vehicle, but federal law would require a state-issued permit for it. Mississippi's IHL recently adopted a policy expressly permitting enhanced permit holders to carry on campus, subject to some exceptions still being worked out.

Private property rights

While Mississippi’s gun laws have become more permissive, private property owners still have the right to ban firearms on their premises by posting signs. Someone carrying a gun onto such private property could face trespassing charges or a firearms charge if they are otherwise violating a gun-carry law. To ban firearms, a property owner must place written notice, clearly readable at a distance of not less than 10 feet, that says “carrying of a pistol or revolver is prohibited.”

Local government authority

Local governments in Mississippi are pre-empted by state law and generally prohibited from adopting ordinances that restrict gun carry rights although they can adopt ordinances regulating carry at:

• A public park or public meeting of a county, city or other governmental body.
• A political rally, parade or official political meeting.
• A non-firearm related school, college or professional athletic event.
• Sensitive areas of government operations where the public is not generally allowed.

Signs prohibiting firearms at such places by local ordinance must also indicate that the prohibition does not apply to enhanced permit holders or that the location is one (listed above) where all license holders are prohibited from carrying.

Ward said there’s been misinformation about Mississippi’s new laws – some, he said he believes, is intentional – but they are not really confusing. He said he still recommends those who want to carry get the enhanced permit.

“The bottom line is, with this new (constitutional carry) law, you can carry a gun anywhere you could have carried with the regular permit,” Ward said. “The problem is, reciprocity with other states is based on permits, and you can’t go in a store and buy a gun without all the paperwork. Then, without a permit or even with the regular one, there’s so many restricted places, it’s not worth having.”

Gipson said he expects lawmakers will have to make technical changes and tweak gun laws, but as far as establishing state gun rights, “I feel confident we’ve done about all we can do.”

“In about the last four years we’ve gone from being a highly regulated state to a very constitutionally based, pro-Second Amendment state with respect to our laws,” Gipson said. “I have no idea what we’re going to see from the federal level, but I’m satisfied where we are with the state at this point.”

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Clarion Ledger News - Jackson, MS



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Old March 6th, 2017, 06:44 PM   #2
 
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Thanks for posting. I had an enhanced carry when I lived in Mississippi. Mainly because I lived nearly on the Mississippi State Campus and without it I had to drive all the way around the university to be legal and run to downtown Starkville, etc.

It is intresting how you can make what in concept very easy extremely complicated!
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Old March 7th, 2017, 07:48 AM   #3
 
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I or we lived in Mississippi about 8 1/2 yrs ago only for about a year and a half. I hated to leave but the wife's job promotion got us moved for a 2nd time. We both had our MS permits.
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Old March 7th, 2017, 08:03 AM   #4
 
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Can you open carry in Mississippi at all?
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Old March 7th, 2017, 10:43 AM   #5
 
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1) YES, Open Carry AND Concealed Carry is legal WITHOUT a permit.

2) In MS, if you are not a student, you can "be" on campus with a firearm in your vehicle.
IF you are a non-student "just driving through", you would not have ANY problems unless you stopped and got out.. or.. you were engaged in another criminal activity.
MS allows carry in ALL personal vehicles by non-prohibited persons, loaded or empty, because car is "extension of your home".
The streets on and through campus are "public roadways".

IOW- you really did not have to drive around.
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Old March 7th, 2017, 10:51 AM   #6
 
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Medicineman.. I wasn't familiar with Marion MS. You're down south and almost in God's country Alabama. I shot some nice deer in GA and AL. We were in Desoto county probably not 15 minutes away from Memphis. If you go into Memphis you damn sure better be carrying something.

By the way welcome to the forum.
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Old March 7th, 2017, 11:26 AM   #7
 
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I'm originally from Hernando. Spent some of the best years of my life in Ackerman near Starkville. I sure do miss home.
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Old March 7th, 2017, 11:47 AM   #8
 
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I'm originally from Hernando. Spent some of the best years of my life in Ackerman near Starkville. I sure do miss home.
I can't blame you we liked Hernando too! Many times we went to the Wally World in Hernando. We lived in Lake Cormorant. I'd much rather be living there then here in NC. I imagine like most places it's changed since we moved from there especially being so close to Memphis.
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Old March 7th, 2017, 11:57 AM   #9
 
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Good to know in New Jersey. De facto concealed carry is prohibited.
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Old March 7th, 2017, 07:24 PM   #10
 
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I can't blame you we liked Hernando too! Many times we went to the Wally World in Hernando. We lived in Lake Cormorant. I'd much rather be living there then here in NC. I imagine like most places it's changed since we moved from there especially being so close to Memphis.
When did you move away? I left the first time in the early 2000's to join the Marines. HUGE change by the time I came back. I actually lived out at Hernando Point, right on Arkabutla. Used to spend most of my days riding my horse out in the Coldwater River bottoms.
Last time I lived there was in 2012. I still visit, have family there, and it hasn't changed that much in the past 5 years.

Lived in NC too. Hated it.
Now I'm in West Monroe LA. Other than the horrible roads and drivers, I can't complain too much.
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Old March 8th, 2017, 07:57 AM   #11
 
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Originally Posted by Ruger Redhawk View Post
Medicineman.. I wasn't familiar with Marion MS. You're down south and almost in God's country Alabama. I shot some nice deer in GA and AL. We were in Desoto county probably not 15 minutes away from Memphis. If you go into Memphis you damn sure better be carrying something.

By the way welcome to the forum.
Oh I do Brother. I do.
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Old March 8th, 2017, 08:48 AM   #12
 
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I think the same law is being kicked around here in Alabama. I hope it gets passed!
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Old March 8th, 2017, 08:52 AM   #13
 
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When did you move away? I left the first time in the early 2000's to join the Marines. HUGE change by the time I came back. I actually lived out at Hernando Point, right on Arkabutla. Used to spend most of my days riding my horse out in the Coldwater River bottoms.
Last time I lived there was in 2012. I still visit, have family there, and it hasn't changed that much in the past 5 years.

Lived in NC too. Hated it.
Now I'm in West Monroe LA. Other than the horrible roads and drivers, I can't complain too much.

Thanks for your service!
We moved there in I believe it was Feb or March 2007 and and moved to NC in 8/08. I really liked it over there. We had a nice red brick house with a pond on a few acres like a dream come true.
The people seemed so nice compared to other places. The wife got a promotion which got her transferred from FL to the Memphis area. Then a little over a year later she got another big promotion that got us relocated for a second time to this wonderful NC.
I guess this is where we are going to stay she no longer works for that company once they were bought out and they cut most of the upper management and kept their own.

I really didn't get to familiar with that area, we weren't there very long. I hunted in a club outside of Montgomery AL. I'd move back there in a heart beat if I could. I'm with you I don't like NC either but until the wife retires I guess we're stuck here. If it wasn't for that I'd been gone way back. To much politics here for me.

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Oh I do Brother. I do.

I know you do I miss it and I was just a short timer there.
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Old March 8th, 2017, 09:33 PM   #14
 
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I think the same law is being kicked around here in Alabama. I hope it gets passed!
We're trying to get it here. I watched a friend of mine go in front of a hearing to talk to our state legislators about it. They completely disrespected him. Ignored him, carried on their own side conversations, one of them took a phone call in the middle of it, not a single one of them gave him the courtesy of acting like he was even in the room. I was pissed. They didn't even notice when he was finished and sat there staring at them.
"Hel-loooo..."
"oh, thank you for your time, we'll be taking this into consideration."
I don't expect us to get it. Amazing, Louisiana's a pretty gun friendly state, and follows suit after Mississippi in a lot of things.
Quote:
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Thanks for your service!
We moved there in I believe it was Feb or March 2007 and and moved to NC in 8/08. I really liked it over there. We had a nice red brick house with a pond on a few acres like a dream come true.
The people seemed so nice compared to other places. The wife got a promotion which got her transferred from FL to the Memphis area. Then a little over a year later she got another big promotion that got us relocated for a second time to this wonderful NC.
I guess this is where we are going to stay she no longer works for that company once they were bought out and they cut most of the upper management and kept their own.

I really didn't get to familiar with that area, we weren't there very long. I hunted in a club outside of Montgomery AL. I'd move back there in a heart beat if I could. I'm with you I don't like NC either but until the wife retires I guess we're stuck here. If it wasn't for that I'd been gone way back. To much politics here for me.

Medicineman
Oh I do Brother. I do.

I know you do I miss it and I was just a short timer there.
I've been out to Lake Cormorant many times, love that area.
A story on the friendliness.
I'd married a yankee before I was discharged. She'd never been south of the Mason-Dixon line before she came to NC to visit a friend of hers that married a Marine friend of mine. That's how I ended up meeting her.
Anyway, we ended up living in Hernando a while after I got out. Went in to the Walmart there for the very first time. There was no Walmart when I enlisted, that whole strip was woods. There was nothing past the Hernando Inn and the BP service station where I used to earn my beer money by pumping gas and fixing cars. That's where I fell in love with the old sheriff's Cadillac. Not in it, with it.

After a few minutes in Walmart, she starts acting weird. Said someone was following her and staring at her. I thought nothing of it. I'd figured out already that she's paranoid as hell, always thinking someone's out to get her and that people she doesn't even know are conspiring to ruin her life. She's an ex wife now. And notice someone was following HER, not US. That's a red flag. Turns out, someone was following ME.
A few moments later a lady approached us to let me know she just LOVED the bluegrass show my grandad played in the week before. That didn't help the paranoia any. I'd been away almost ten years and some random person I didn't know recognized me. But that wasn't very common, the town had grown a LOT and most of the new folks didn't go to the bluegrass shows.
Wifey was speechless. Her chin almost hit the floor, her eyes got big, and she went white as a sheet. I chatted for a minute, let her know when the next show was, then exchanged the "have a great day!" with her and she walked away.
Wife said "What the hell was that all about!?"

"Babe, she's being friendly. And nice. It's Miss'ippi. Folks DO that here."

I have custody of our 11 year old son, and part of the reason why is because her paranoia turned out to be quite a bit worse than I'd thought. But she got my Cadillac.
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Old March 11th, 2017, 07:57 AM   #15
 
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I think the same law is being kicked around here in Alabama. I hope it gets passed!
Just stay on your legislators and don't let them "pull a Texas" on you.
(open carry only with permit)
TxDPS - New Legislation for Concealed Handgun Licensing

You need to match Mississippi's law if you can.
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