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Open Carry Law Draws Criticism From Some Lawmakers

By Lawayne Childrey | Published 28 Jun 2013 06:18am | comments

A group of Mississippi lawmakers and law officers is asking Governor Phil Bryant to repeal the states open carry law which takes effect on Monday and some of these lawmakers are calling for the change.


In the capitol rotunda Thursday, State Senator John Horn of Jackson was joined by more than a dozen law enforcement officials and legislators. They included State Senator Kenny Wayne Jones of Canton who was carrying a hi powered rifle. Horn says the group was there to ask Governor Bryant to repeal a new open carry law because of the high number of complaints from law officers. 


"Constables go out and handle evictions, they're involved with a number of things that put them in direct contact with the public and they're very concerned about this bill, they think it's bery confusing  and very permissive in terms of being able to allow folks to carry guns openly, in public in a manner that might be intimidating and that may also wind up inciting folks to take actions they might not ordinarily take," says Jones. 


Hinds County Constable Bennie Buckner believes the open carry law creates an environment for things to quickly go bad.  


"This bill will allow anyone who's at least 18 to strap on the AK-47 or whatever they have, walk up and down the street in front of anybody's house, to me, that's intimidation, but as long as they're not doing anything but walking, they're legal and there's nothing that law enforcement can do until they present a threat," says Buckner.     


Representative Andy Gipson of Rankin County Authored the bill that will soon  become law.  


"You can read House Bill 2 from the beginning to the end, and find there's nothing in there about authorizing open carry." 


However he says section 12 of the state constitution does create the right to bear arms.  "It's not against the law for a part of a weapon to show," says Gibson.  


"It's a guaranteed right by the constitution, you're not a criminal just because the handle of your gun shows, if you're breaking the law that's another problem, obviously it's against the law for felons to have guns, people who have been determined mentally ill, so for some people this may be the first time they've actually read the constitution and I'm glad for that," says Gibson.    


Senator Horn says he has delivered a letter to Governor Bryant listing why he believes the law should be appealed. Lawayne Childrey.








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