Strong Reaction to Overturning of Open Carry Block

By: Candace Barnette Email
By: Candace Barnette Email

Lauderdale County, Mississippi Most people are now aware that House Bill 2, the open carry law, is officially in effect.

This comes after the Mississippi Supreme Court voted 9 to 0 in favor of the law, a unanimous decision and something Lauderdale County Sheriff Billy Sollie says is not too common.

"Rarely do you see the Mississippi Supreme Court do a 9-0 vote," Sollie points out. "This is a strong message to the citizens of Mississippi that the Constitution is being upheld in Mississippi."

But the Supreme Court's decision hasn't swayed everyone. Representative Charles Young, Junior says this law is a travesty.

"I think that it's a sad day for Mississippi that the highest court in the state has succumbed to political influence," Young feels. "This law does not provide for the public welfare."

Young says his staff attorneys haven't been able to make heads or tails of the law, a challenge he thinks is also very real to the general public.

"This law has people terrified, it has law enforcement at the municipal, county and state levels terrified," Young says. "The only people that I know that support this legislation are ALEC, the NRA and not ultra-conservatives but ultra-radicals."

But if you're worried the state will suddenly be flooded with gun-slinging citizens, Sheriff Sollie says he doesn't anticipate that as an issue. He says the best method of protection is always a concealed weapon and encourages those who want to carry to get their permit.

"We strongly believe that a concealed weapon is a much more viable option for surprising the would-be attacker than having the gun openly exposed," Sollie explains.

Your weapon isn't permitted just anywhere. For security reasons, government buildings do not allow weapons, even if openly carried. Those buildings will post signs.

"Again, there's been some Supreme Court cases that allows the county government to regulate those buildings," Sollie adds.

Other businesses can also post signs forbidding weapons from their buildings. But Young is concerned it won't do much good.

"The signage doesn't prevent people from bringing a gun into your business," Young believes. "The person can't be charged with bringing a weapon. They can only be charged with a trespass and have a $100 fine."

The open carry law was first blocked on June 28th by Judge Winston Kidd and again on July 12. The Supreme Court overturned that block on Thursday.


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