UNDATED, Miss.-The nine-member Mississippi Supreme Court unanimously says a Hinds County judge erred when he ruled the state’s new “open carry” law was unconstitutionally vague.
The ruling released this afternoon reinstates the law, which allows people to carry weapons almost anywhere as long as they are at least partially visible.
On July 12, Circuit Court Judge Winston Kidd issued an injunction blocking implementation of House Bill 2, saying it was too vague for average people to understand. Attorney General Jim Hood asked the court to overturn Kidd’s action.
The law was set to go into effect July 1.
Today’s ruling allows it to take effect immediately.
Rep. Andy Gipson, R-Braxton, the author of the legislation, has maintained that the 1890s Mississippi Constitution, not his bill, gives Mississippians the right to openly carry a weapon. The Constitution, he said, gives the Legislature the authority to regulate concealed carry, but not the authority to regulate open carry.
Still, he conceded that, though, the language in the Constitution allows the open carry of weapons with no permit, the issue had never been decided by the Courts.
Gipson’s bill deals primarily with concealed carry issues but in doing so clarifies that anyone had the right to open carry.
Kidd blocked enactment of the law in late June after law enforcement, primarily from Hinds County, filed a lawsuit. After Kidd’s ruling, Attorney General Jim Hood filed an appeal with the Supreme Court asking the high court to expedite a ruling on the issue.