JACKSON, Miss.–It was a two hour hearing Monday where both sides fought it out in front of Hinds County Circuit Judge Winston Kidd as to whether or not the state’s new Open Carry law is unconstitutionally vague. With no immediate satisfaction and a wait until Friday for Kidd’s opinion, at least one of the plaintiffs is calling for Gov. Bryant to hold a special legislative session to re-examine the matter.
“We are going to be meeting with the governor Wednesday morning to discuss this along with several other matters and to try to impress upon him that this bill is defective and needs to be clarified,” said Sen. John Horhn (D-Jackson), who voted twice in favor of the bill (once for the House bill and once for the senate).
“The best way to do that is through the legislative process and only he can call a special session,” said Horhn. “Otherwise we expect that we will try to get some sort of relief on the matter in the 2014 regular session.”
John Horhn AUDIO (NOTE: The first half of this audio is Hinds DA Robert Schuler-Smith)
Some have estimated the cost of a special session, like the one that lasted two days two weeks ago to reauthorize Medicaid, a $30,000 per day. Figures published by the Assoc. Press put the actual cost to taxpayers at over $60,000 per day, with salaries, expenses and travel.
Horhn told media two weeks ago that he believed the law would open the way for wild west-style shootouts in the streets. He said Monday that his constituents were frightened of the new law, which does not grant any new rights and restates what is in the 1890 Mississippi Constitution.
“It scares them. There’s a lot of vagueness to it that has law enforcement on edge.”
Once the law’s effective date was imminent many law enforcement agencies. lawmaking bodies and businesses began to put up signs forbidding open carry on city, county and private properties, which is completely allowable under the law.
The assistant attorney general argued the state’s side on the matter and said the law is not unconstitutionally vague, a position Attorney Gen. Jim Hood held last week when he petitioned the state Supreme Court to take the matter away from Judge Kidd, which they have not done so far.