JACKSON, Miss.–The state’s new open carry law, which essentially clarifies what is already in the state’s constitution about being able to have a holstered, visible firearm in public, is not in effect on the day it was set to become law after a temporary injunction by Hinds County Judge Winston Kidd.
That injunction came down Friday after a concerted effort by some lawmakers and law enforcement officers who are leery of the law, believing it’s bad news for public safety.
One of those lawmakers is State Sen. Kenny Wayne Jones, who has changed his mind after voting for the bill in February. News Mississippi caught up with Jones Sunday, after the injunction took effect.
“We were looking at it (the law) and we wanted to give everybody the right to bear arms and we didn’t want to deal with taking away any rights from anybody,” he said. “But, once we got down to some of the meat of it, when they start talking about 12 inch barrels, knives, grenades and all that, then we said no we have got to go back and look at this again.”
House Speaker Phillip Gunn said he was not yet aware of the legal arguments being made in the case, which is set for a July 8 hearing in Hinds County Circuit Court.
“Obviously we feel very strongly about a person’s right to bear arms. It’s in the Constitution,” he said. “We hope that a person’s right to exercise their Second Amendment rights will be upheld.”
Gunn said he is not aware of anything the Miss. House can do about it. They do not convene again until January. It was unclear from Gunn’s perspective who would be making arguments in defense of the law.
Law enforcement officers have expressed concern over the bill, saying having people open carrying, old west style, is a bad situation. Attorney Gen. Jim Hood, who issued an opinion on the case, calling the law “clear as mud”, said during a recent press conference that he didn’t believe you would see a whole lot of people open carrying once the law went into effect.