Guns and the Law, Part 1

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Guns are a hot button topic right now in the U.S. And in recent weeks here in Mississippi, the number of guns being purchased has been on the rise for a number of reasons.

But if you are one of those people who has recently purchased, or is considering purchasing, a firearm, what do you need to know?

Shootings and robberies in the last few months in Meridian have fueled the desire for more citizens to
have their own firearms to protect themselves and their property.

"People that are purchasing for themselves, for self-defense, for home-defense, personal carry, concealed-carry, you're seeing a large influx of them purchasing weapons to carry on them," said Eric Stubbs of Modern Outfitters. "So that again is boosting the handgun market. You've got self- defense buying and that's pretty much drying up the entire supply that this country has on handguns."

Newscenter 11 spoke with two women who are very concerned about protecting their families.

"My husband got me actually involved in this, learning how to shoot, learning how to protect myself," said Stacy Fletchall. "Growing up we always knew how to hunt and how to shoot rifles. But learn how to shoot pistols and defend yourselves."

"We live in an increasingly dangerous environment and I want to be able to protect my family, and my friends, and I want to protect myself," said Virginia Nelson. "And I think we are going to have an increasing threat as time goes on. I really want to be prepared."

Lt. Eric Johnson, of the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, says with the increase of crime, more and more people are coming in to apply for their gun permits.

"Since the Newtown, Conn., tragedy, we've seen a drastic increase in gun permits. Where we would normally see fifteen to thirty on any given Tuesday, we've seen well over a hundred come in," said Johnson. "So much of an increase that we've had to, in Meridian District alone, we've had to increase it to two days a week, which is Mondays and Tuesdays."

What is the process of purchasing a firearm and can I be approved in the state of Mississippi to legally carry a firearm? If you are considering buying one, local dealers say the process is pretty simple.

"We've got a little bit of paperwork they have to fill out," said Jonathan Debord of Modern Outfitters. "And then we have to run a NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System) through the FBI, which we do online, which tells whether they are approved or not approved."

Debord says that as long as if you are not a convicted felon, or you do not have a history of mental illness, you should not be prevented from obtaining a firearm in Mississippi.

In Part 2, find out what you need to know once you have a concealed-carry permit and a firearm. Where can you carry it?