Tate Co. Sheriff Questions New State Gun Law

Tate Co. Sheriff Questions New State Gun Law

State officials in Mississippi are calling a new law allowing people to openly carry guns "clear as mud." The Tate County Sheriff is leading the effort to better understand the law.
SENATOBIA, MS (localmemphis.com) - Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood issued an opinion Thursday about the state's new gun law in response to questions from Tate County Sheriff Brad Lance.

While the law does allow Mississippians to openly carry guns, weapons can still be prohibited on private property and in courthouses.

"Poorly written" and "clear as mud" is how Attorney General Jim Hood responded to the sheriff's questions about Mississippi's new gun law. The law, which takes effect July 1st, will allow residents to carry a weapon almost anywhere.

Lance says, "We're stuck with the law once it's passed, we're stuck, we're stuck with it, and my concern is that it's not a clear law."

Sheriff Lance emailed Hood's office in March with seven questions about the law. He received a detailed response four months later.

Under the law, Mississippians can openly carry guns, but they can still be prohibited in courthouses and on private property. House Bill 2 defines concealed carry as a gun that doesn't have to be fully cloaked as long as it's in a proper holster.

"If the intent of this law was to say for example all citizens could carry guns period, write the law that way. As it stands now, you have this law now concealed carry law, and have the enhanced concealed carry laws, just another law that's being added into the issue of carrying firearms," said Lance.

The new law leaves it up to the sheriff whether residents can take weapons into the courtroom. That decision has yet to be made in Tate County. Sheriff Lance is concerned that it could lead to a federal lawsuit.

"Even though they're banned in the courtrooms, now this is having us to address the courthouse as a whole. You know we've never had deputies stationed at the courthouse on a regular basis. This is just changing how we're going to have to address potential issues," said Lance.

Lance's response from the attorney general is being referred to across Mississippi by other law enforcement officials who are just as confused by the jumbled language in the law.

Read Mississippi House Bill 2: http://billstatus.ls.state.ms.us/documents/2013/pdf/HB/0001-0099/HB0002SG.pdf
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