Meridian, Miss. Starting Monday, citizens will be able to openly carry their firearm most places, but there are certain provisions within that law that can be confusing, so local law enforcement officers spent Wednesday morning learning the ins and outs of the law. Lauderdale County Sheriff, Billy Sollie, says it's important for officers to know what they can and can't do to avoid lawsuits from open-carrying citizens.
"There are persons who are going to attempt to file litigation based on a law enforcement officer coming in contact with them and their open carry situation."
Right now if a report comes in of a person with a weapon, officers respond and try to take control of the situation, but starting Monday that's going to change, and a big factor in deciding whether or not law enforcement responds will be how the person is acting.
"If that person's not brandishing that gun, or threatening someone with that gun or weapon, law enforcement has no legal authority to confront the individual."
Sollie, along with several other law enforcement agencies, are expecting an increased number of calls Monday. Sollie says that dispatchers will serve on the front line for educating the public on the new law.
"They'll be the ones who'll have the first opportunity to educate the public on the fact that it's perfectly legal for someone to walk down the street with a shotgun, rifle, or handgun openly exposed."
Even with the new open carry law, certain individuals, such as convicted felons will not be able to posses a weapon under federal law. For more information on exactly where open carry is allowed beginning July 1st, you can consult Mississippi House Bill 2.