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“Enhanced-Carry Permit” Raises Concern Among Miss. School Officials

By Lawayne Childrey | Published 04 Oct 2013 09:26am | comments

Mississippi school officials now have clarity about where holders of enhanced carry permits can take concealed weapons on public school campuses.

State Attorney General Jim Hood issued a non-binding legal opinion this week that says a person with an enhanced-carry permit may legally take a concealed weapon onto parts of school campuses that are generally open to the public. However, he adds that opinion comes with a key  caveat.  

"It may be a public school, but you can't just during school hours walk down the hallway of a public school, go into a particular teacher's private office, so there will be areas but the legislature said in their infinite wisdom expressly said that you can carry it to sporting events and those places that are open to the public generally," explains Hood. 

That means a person could take a concealed weapon to a gym or football field or a school auditorium. It's an issue that raises a number of concerns for Monroe County Assistant School Superintendent Brian Jernigan

"Because basically when you start thinking about students, what do you do at that point even if you were to establish metal detectors all across the campus to check everyone and if you do, are you going to card them to be sure, to police that.  It's a lot of questions that come out, of course safety for children, that's the big thing," says Jernigan. 

Mississippi issues two types of concealed-carry gun permits. The enhanced permit which require firearms training and the standard concealed-carry which does not.  Hood says even with the enhanced training he still has concerns. 

"Because law enforcement officers are trained not to shoot into crowds, I just don't know that eight hours of training is sufficient for a regular citizen to be prepared for that kind of situation, so it's something that will need to be hopefully reviewed by the legislature," continues Hood. 

Unlike private schools and churches public entities cannot post signs prohibiting people carrying concealed weapons as long as they have an enhanced carry permit.  




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