Guns good politics for Hood

Governing Magazine’s recent profile of Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, “The Last Democrat in Dixie,” describes Hood’s independent appeal in a Republican dominated state. It quotes House Democratic Minority Leader Bobby Moak saying Hood “takes the right stance on God and guns.”

“As for guns,” the profile reports, “Hood earned a ‘B’ on gun rights from the National Rifle Association in 2011. He comes to work every day armed with a 9mm handgun, and at home he keeps a stock of shotguns and rifles in a vault, including an antique bolt-action rifle that is the exact model his grandfather once owned. He hunts deer or birds almost every weekend in December and January.”

Hood increases his pro-gun credentials this week with an aggressive response to plaintiffs seeking to block legislation which clarifies the term “concealed” in Mississippi statute. HB2, sponsored by Representative Andy Gipson (R), says, “‘concealed’ means hidden or obscured from common observation…including, but not limited to, a loaded or unloaded pistol carried upon the person in a sheath, belt holster or shoulder holster that is wholly or partially visible….”

The legislation does not create the right to carry an unconcealed weapon. The Mississippi Constitution of 1890 enshrines that right which has been a component of Mississippi’s Constitution since 1817: “The right of every citizen to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person, or property, or in aid of the civil power when thereto legally summoned, shall not be called in question, but the legislature may regulate or forbid carrying concealed weapons.”

The legislation was to be effective Monday, July 1, but plaintiffs including Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith, Hinds County Sheriff Tyrone Lewis and state Senator John Horhn (D) (who voted for the legislation) filed suit in front of Hinds County Circuit Judge Winston Kidd who issued a restraining order blocking the law. Kidd, appointed to the bench in 2001 by Governor Ronnie Musgrove, found the law “is indeed vague, it is not clear, it is ambiguous” and it could harm the general public and scheduled a July 10 hearing.

Brian Perry
Madison County Journal
7/5/13