Some Mississippians see carrying a gun as a right of passage, others are more hesitant to own a firearm. Regardless of what side of the fence you’re on it’s good to know what the Magnolia state’s laws are when it comes to guns.
Mississippi residents who choose to purchase a firearm can do so without taking a permit course. You can own one, and keep it on your property as long as you are not a prohibited person. A prohibited person is someone with a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence etc., a known user of illegal drugs including medical marijuana, or a felony.
“You do not need a permit to carry a firearm in Mississippi concealed as of April 15, 2016 as long as it is in a holster,” said attorney Steven Stamboulieh of Madison.
For instance if you owned a pistol, as long as it is in a holster and you’re not a prohibited person, you can carry it with you concealed. However, there are a list of locations that are off-limits when carrying without a more sophisticated permit.
For a list of those locations click HERE.
Mississippi has always been an Open Carry state but after some Supreme Court decisions the state had to change their definition of what Open Carry meant. So the law was changed to make it clear that open carry was allowed.
In 2015 the purse or satchel carry was passed that would allow a gun owner to carry their gun in one of those bags, without a permit.
To have more flexibility on where you can carry your weapon you can get an Enhanced Carry Permit. You voluntarily take an 8 hour course that is put on by an organization like the United States Concealed Carry Association (USCCA) or the National Rifle Association (NRA).
“During that course you’ll have a one hour instruction on the law, then you’ll be able to carry pretty much anywhere except federal buildings, police stations, and jails. You’ll even be able to carry in a school as long as you have that permit,” said Stamboulieh.
You can visit the Department of Public Safety to apply for the permit and pay the fee. A permit is then issued within 45 days as long as you are not a prohibited person.
“If I have a gun in a school without a permit, then that’s a felony,” said Stamboulieh.
Owning a gun is one thing, being in a situation where you have to use a gun is a different story.
In Mississippi there are strong Castle Laws that protect a homeowner in the event that they are involved in a shooting. Under Mississippi law there is a presumption that if someone breaks into your house they are there to cause you great bodily harm, which is justification to use a weapon to diffuse the situation. That Castle Law includes the inside of a home, car, or place of work.
“If someone is outside your house, breaking into your car or causing some other mischief that is not causing you to be in fear for your life, call the police,” said Stamboulieh. Police have different types of immunity that the public does not have.
Generally in Mississippi if you are in one of those three places and someone tries to attack you, you do not have to retreat, you can use deadly force to protect yourself. But there must be an immediate threat to your well-being.
When it comes to an attack outside of those locations, Stamboulieh said situation is looked at on a case to case basis.
“Everyone is interested in getting one and carrying one, but no one thinks, what happens if I have to use this,” said Stamboulieh.