The Commercial Appeal

Judge blocks new Mississipp­i gun law

But atty. general’s office says too late

- Associated Press

JACKSON — A state judge has blocked a Mississipp­i open-carry gun law from taking effect Monday.

Circuit Judge Winston Kidd ruled that the law is vague and an injunction is needed to stop irreparabl­e harm.

Hinds County Dist. Atty. Robert Shuler Smith requested the injunction, and Kidd granted it during an emergency hearing late Friday. Kidd will hear more arguments July 8.

House Bill 2 clarifies that people don’t need any kind of stateissue­d permit to carry a gun that’s not concealed.

The bill’s main sponsor, Republican Rep. Andy Gipson of Braxton, says the law simply restates the state constituti­on’s right to bear arms. But some sheriffs and police chiefs worry people could become trigger-happy and hurt civilians or law-enforcemen­t officers.

The attorney general’s office defended the law, saying a challenge came too late.

Elected and law enforcemen­t officials throughout the state, including in DeSoto County, have been preparing for how to deal with the law.

In Vicksburg, aldermen have adopted a ban of firearms on city property except for law enforcemen­t officers.

City Attorney Lee Thames said the new city board that takes office Monday “will probably have

to pass an ordinance and put something permanent on the books. Something with penalties for violations.”

No penalty is attached to the resolution.

Thames said he is drafting a gun ban ordinance. Under state law, an ordinance does not become law until 30 days after it is passed so the public may comment.

“The whole idea (of t he resolution) i s just to put everybody on notice that you can’t walk around (city property) with a gun,” Thames said.

Vicksburg Alderman Michael Mayfield said he wanted to make sure the city had something on the books even if all the signs were not up by Monday.

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