A new Mississippi law that will come into effect next month has sparked controversy between gun rights and gun control groups.
The new law clarifies the state’s current gun laws to define concealed carry as a weapon being carried in a sheath that is not fully or partially visible.
Mississippi is historically a pro-gun state. Gun rights are even written into the state’s constitution, but the wording also specifies that the state can place restrictions on concealed and open carry.
Gun rights advocates are not thrilled about the new law. They have been pushing for open carry, so such a strict definition that requires a gun to be totally hidden is a slap in the face for open carry advocates. Pro-gun groups have scheduled an “open carry, empty chamber” day at Corinth City Park on Thursday, which is also the day when the law will go into effect.
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Gun control advocates are not happy about the law, either. Law enforcement officials have argued that the concealed carry law will increase the number of guns that police officers have to deal with on a regular basis.
Business owners have also expressed concern about the law. Legislators have assured business owners the law doesn’t have any impact on personal property laws. A business owner will still be able to post signs prohibiting firearms and ask gun owners to leave the store. Business owners argue this is a poor comfort.
“Who will walk up to someone with a gun and tell them to leave?” asks Jim Johnson, the Lee Country Sheriff. Johnson added he expects to see an increase in harassment and intimidation calls once the law goes into effect
“It doesn’t matter what you think about the way you’re carrying your gun if someone else feels threatened or intimidated,” Johnson argues.
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Of course, gun owners are under no obligation to worry about the comfort of those around them. If other people feel threatened by the presence of a gun, there is not much that can be done as long as the gun owner is not breaking any laws.
As controversial as the bill is, it marks a significant victory for gun rights activists in Mississippi.