MS: New gun law raises eyebrows, concerns

Mississippi sheriffs can ban people from openly carrying guns into courthouses, according to state Attorney General Jim Hood.

Hood released a document in anticipation of the law that goes into effect on July 1 stating that Mississippians can openly carry guns in Mississippi without a permit. Gun owners still must have a conceal and carry license to wear a concealed gun in public.
By law, the weapon must remain partially visible whether in a holster, waistband, pocket, or otherwise. Whether or not the gun can be carried in one's hands is not made clear in the new law except to say it may not be brandished or wielded in a threatening manner. Concerning those terms, Hood writes that to brandish means to shake, wave, or point the gun in an aggressive or menacing manner, and that to wield is to handle the weapon "'especially effectively.'"
Robbie Suber, major of operations with the Jones County Sheriff's Department, says the carrier is not allowed to carry a weapon if he or she has been convicted of felony or domestic violence charges. The gun owner must also by 18 or older.
This new law could pose future complications for the Jones County Sheriff's Department, according to Suber.
"I feel like, initially, we'll have some struggles or concerns," Suber said. "If someone is walking down Highway 84, or 16th Avenue, or wherever it may be, and they're carrying a weapon, they're not necessarily violating the law."
This leaves law enforcement without authority to detain individuals carrying weapons; however, the law does not allow Mississippians to remain within a business with a firearm without regard for the wishes of the business owner.
"What people need to realize is that if they're going to carry open, or if they're going to carry concealed weapons, property owners, such as merchants, restaurants, store, business, whatever, they still have the right to refuse people entering into their establishments with weapons, whether it be concealed or open," Suber said.
Individuals are also not allowed to possess weapons on campus premises.
Suber also suggests that a gun owner should become familiar with their weapons before openly carrying. He says people should take all safety measures necessary for obtaining and handling guns.
"We hope there is some good that comes out of this, but there are still risks."
Suber talks about a gun-related incident that recently took place in Jones County.
"We don't want another instance like that to happen. We recently had one in Jones County, and families are still suffering from that."


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