MC

Mississippi College

Gun Laws Explored at Mississippi Law School Forum

August 1, 2013

Conversations about firearms and gun laws are always a hot topic across America.

As many as 30,000 people are killed across the USA each year due to gun violence. There are more than 310 million firearms in the hands of civilians, including 114 million handguns and 110 million rifles. National tragedies involving deadly gun violence from Virginia Tech to Newtown, Connecticut and Tuscon, Arizona will never be forgotten.

Shedding light on the details of new Mississippi gun laws passed by the Legislature, a panel at Mississippi College School of Law focused attention on the issue of the open carrying of firearms in the Magnolia State.

MC Law Dean Jim Rosenblatt moderated the discussions Wednesday at the downtown Jackson campus that sits a few blocks from the state Capitol.

“In Mississippi, our Legislature has enacted laws which deal with the carrying of concealed weapons and to a more limited extent the open carrying of weapons,” Rosenblatt said. “It is important to define the terms used in our laws as illustrated by the panel discussion.”

The dean said he hoped the talks at the law school’s auditorium “contributed to the understanding of current law as the Mississippi Supreme Court prepares to hear a firearms case on appeal from the Hinds County Circuit Court.”

Panel members included state Rep. Andy Gipson of Braxton, an attorney who authored House Bill 2, the new law that defines when a firearm is considered to be concealed.

Others joining the conversation included Ken Winter, executive director of the Mississippi Association of Chiefs of Police, Hinds County District Attorney Robert Schuler Smith, and deputy state attorney general Mike Lanford.

The two-hour session attracted Mississippi media members, attorneys seeking to receive two hours of continuing legal education credit, and the public.

Earlier this year, state lawmakers passed the law and Gov. Phil Bryant signed the measure that narrows the definition of what is considered to be a concealed weapon which would require a permit.  Mississippians already have the right to keep and bear arms, Bryant noted. The governor, about 80 lawmakers, the National Rifle Association and others recently asked the Mississippi Supreme Court to let them file briefs in support of the statutory changes made by HB 2.

Photo: Rep. Andy Gipson, Deputy Attorney General Michael Lanford, Hinds District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith, and police chief Ken Winter