Hood’s ‘open carry’ ruling strikes important balances

Attorney General Jim Hood’s office issued an opinion this week that went a long way toward establishing some order and applying some common sense to what has become a contentious and confusing debate both for proponents and opponents of free exercise of the Second Amendment.

House Bill 2, which becomes law July 1, was authored and led to passage by state Rep. Andy Gipson, R-Braxton. Gipson has told the press that he believed the legislation was necessary to clearly define what a concealed weapon is under the law and to distinguish between “concealed carry” and “open carry” rights. But for many law enforcement officers charged with enforcing the state’s “concealed carry” law and other contradictory statutes, the bill created some confusion and Hood’s AG opinion brought some clarity to the ongoing debate.

As Hood’s opinion expressly notes, the ruling doesn’t apply to people who carry a concealed weapon with a standard or enhanced permit. Those who seek and win concealed carry permits in Mississippi have already agreed to rather broad restrictions on carrying their weapons in most local, state and federal government buildings, law enforcement venues, educational facilities, professional athletic events, airport terminals, and bars.

Sid Salter