AG Jim Hood issues opinion that sheriff’s can ban open guns from courthouses

Mississippi sheriffs can ban people from openly carrying guns into courthouses, state Attorney General Jim Hood said in a legal opinion Thursday.

Hood issued the document in anticipation of a law that starts July 1. The opinion clarifies that people may openly carry guns in Mississippi without a concealed weapon permit. Some people had previously interpreted state law to say people couldn’t carry a visible gun on the streets without a permit.

Attorney general’s opinions aren’t legally binding, although they provide legal protection to officials who follow them.

Deputy Attorney General Mike Lanford, writing for Hood, said courthouses are “the scene of emotionally charged disputes such as child custody battles, criminal prosecutions, property forfeitures, tax sales, etc.” He wrote that a ban on openly-carried guns “is reasonably tailored to serve the governmental interest in preserving security for courthouse proceedings and personnel.”