Image of Andy Gipson from the clarionledger.com
In a bill labelled a "Church Protection Act", the Mississippi legislature appears ready to join the permitless or "Constitutional" carry club. If Governor Bryan signs the bill into law, Mississippi will become the third state this year to join the club, putting its members at 10, or 20 percent of the states.
Members of the club can no longer claim any exclusivity. They range from the East coast to the Pacific, from Alaska to Arizona, with midwest, eastern, and western members. At 10 members, the club is larger than the dwindling "may issue" club, where peoples ability to exercise their Second Amendment rights is subject to the whim of police or other officials.
"Constitutional" carry derives its nomenclature from the state of law at the time that the Bill of Rights, including the Second Amendment, was ratified. At that time no permit for the carry of arms was required, openly or concealed. Current "Constitutional" carry states may vary a little from this ideal; there may be restrictions on minors, felons, and the mentally ill. Hence the more accurate appellation of permitless carry.
Earlier this year, West Virginia and Idaho passed their versions of permitless carry. West Virginia has a "shall issue" law. Idaho already had effective permitless carry over 99% of the state, so the transition was a small increment. The Mississippi transition is also a small increment. It was already legal to carry a firearm in an enclosed container, such as a purse, bag or briefcase. Representative Gipson has proposed a small, incremental change that appears in the current bill. HB 786 passed the House 85-33 on February 17th. It passed the Senate on 29 March, 36 to 14, with an amendment, and has been sent back to the House for concurrence.
The increment used by Representative Gipson show how clever a pro Second Amendment representative can be. The salami slices are thin, but this is so close to Constitutional carry that it hardly makes a difference. If the last slice of the salami is mostly rind, is your salami completely sliced, or not? If your glass is a teaspoon short of being full, do you refer to it as an "empty" glass, or a "full" glass. Here is the relevant part of HB 786 (the underlined words would be added to existing law):
(24) No license shall be required under this section for a loaded or unloaded pistol or revolver carried upon the person in a sheath, belt holster or shoulder holster or carried in a purse, handbag, satchel, other similar bag or briefcase or fully enclosed case.
If this bill is concurred in the House, then is signed or becomes law, Mississippi will be a permitless carry or "constitutional" carry state.
If the pistol is in a holster, no permit will be required. If the pistol is in a purse, bag, case or any container that completely encloses it, no permit is required. If the pistol is openly carried, no permit is required.
So where *is* a permit required? Maybe in a pocket, completely concealed, without a holster? Maybe in a waistband with no holster and a shirt over it?
I suspect that the good representative Gipson may even remove those last tiny impediments next session, if this bill becomes law.
There are other reforms in the law. As the title suggests, the law "allows" Churches to have some of their members defend them, and grants immunities to church security officers similar to those that police officers have, when they are in the performance of their duties.
The law also would also withdraw state support for executive orders or agency regulations that have not been approved by Congress, and conflict with the State or Federal Constitutions.
©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch