DESOTO COUNTY, MS (abc24.com) - The DeSoto County board of supervisors wants to hear from Mississippi residents about a proposed law that would change where gun owners can carry their weapons.
Supervisors want to better regulate who can carry a weapon in DeSoto County's parks. They're expecting a crowd at a public hearing next month.
"You can own a gun, keep it in your home, and carry it in your vehicle in Mississippi without a permit, but to carry on your person you have to have the permit," says Supervisor Mark Gardner.
Supervisors want to also require a permit for gun owners to carry their weapons in the county's parks.
"The proposed ordinance is similar to what municipal parks have," Gardner expalins. "You have to have a carry permit with the endorsement. That has an eight hour gun safety and shooting class."
Gardner says there have been a few recent incidents that caused the change. "In one of our parks over on the river we'd had some people shooting up our signs."
He adds the county isn't trying to take away second amendment rights. "We're firm believers in that. We just want people, if they're going to carry weapons in our parks system, to have proper authorization by the Department of Public Safety."
"There's a lot of families that come and do picnics, birthday parties and family reunions," says Darlene Thorne. She comes to the park just about every day, and fully supports the change.
"There are too many kids and little babies in strollers and dogs over here. There's no reason for firearms to be in the park at all."
"Our law enforcement officers want to know who has the right to carry a weapon when they stop a vehicle or are dealing with people," says Gardner. "They need to know whether or not they are authorized to have that weapon on their person."
Violators could face a $500 fine or six months in jail. The hearing is October 15 at 9 a.m. at DeSoto County's administration building. Supervisors will decide whether or not they'll pass the new ordinance after that meeting.