New Carry Law in Effect July 1

Meridian, Miss. Mississippi has passed an open-carry gun law that allows any citizen in the state to carry a gun, with or without a permit.

So what exactly will that mean for the average gun owner? Where can you carry your gun?

The initial purpose of House Bill 2 was to clarify what is defined by law as a 'concealed' or 'unconcealed' weapon. So while you must have a permit to carry a concealed weapon, any weapons in an exposed holster are considered fair game.

"Law enforcement always treats every citizen as if they are a potential danger, be it having a psychotic episode or being armed," said Sheriff Billy Sollie. "So just like game and fish officers during the hunting season, we treat everyone as being armed. Not necessarily dangerous, but being armed."

The sheriff's department will have a training session June 26 with a member of the attorney general's office on how the legislation should be implemented, looking at issues such as where it can be enforced.

This law doesn't apply anywhere. Unless you have an enhanced concealed carry permit, if you enter any establishment that has a sign posted at least 10 feet from the door that forbids firearms, you might find yourself guilty of trespassing.

The sheriff's department, as well as the firearms training director at Modern Outfitters, Ron Payton, emphasized the potential ramifications of openly carrying weapons rather than opting for a concealed carry permit.

"There really is a tactical advantage in having one concealed, that you don't make yourself a target, for example," said Payton. "By having one concealed, we kind of encourage people to still use that as their main way of carry concealed."

Since Mississippi was already an open-carry state, this law will not change prior legislation, only more clearly define it. The law goes into effect July 1.