Business and State Leaders Respond to Open Carry LawBy Evelina Burnett | Published 11 Jul 2013 09:10am |
Mississippians are watching and waiting to learn the outcome of a challenge to the state’s new open carry gun law. Business and state leaders around Mississippi are voicing their thoughts about the controversial law.
At Cupit Signs in Pascagoula, owner Norman Cupit is doing a swift business in one particular type of sign. It’s a simple sign that states, in clear bold letters, “NO weapons permitted on this property.”
"We've been having hundreds and hundreds of signs mostly to the small businesses in the area, but we've also sold quite a bit to the medical facilities, municipal offices, it seems like everyone's covering their tails on this topic," says Cupit.
Cupit estimates he’s sold about 400 of these signs in the past two weeks.
Businesses are posting them in reaction to a new state law that says citizens can carry weapons that aren’t concealed. Supporters say the law is simply a clarification of existing state gun laws. Lt Governor Tate Reeves says this new law was passed to protect people with concealed weapons permits whose guns may accidentally become visible.
"The argument as to whether or not Mississippi is an open carry state or not is a constitutional argument that we certainly believe that every Mississippian has the right to bear arms, it's plainly stated in the U.S. Constitution, it's plainly stated in the Mississippi constitution, so the temporary restraining order put on by this judge in Jackson is a minor setback," says Reeves.
Opponents of the law worry it will encourage citizens to openly carry weapons and lead to more violence. They’ve asked a Hinds County judge to block it, which he did temporarily. Governor Phil Bryant says this sets a bad precedent.
"I don't think a judge in a particular county ought to be able to overrule the legislature, as you look at this is one judge in one county, I'm not particularly singling out that judge, but if you can go to a particular county and get a judge to say, I'm going to hold an injunction against that law then couldn't you do it for every law that you disagree with," says Bryant.
The judge considering the challenge to the bill said he will rule by Friday on whether to lift the block on the law and allow it to take effect. As for print shop owner Norman Cupit? He says he’s a huge proponent of the second amendment and does not plan to post a sign in his own business.
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