MISSISSIPPI (WCBI) – Starting July 1st, Mississippians will have fewer restrictions for carrying firearms without a permit.
To paraphrase a quote attributed to everyone from Churchill to Uncle Ben from Spider Man, “with great power comes great responsibility.”
Law enforcement emphasizes that idea with the new rules.
Mississippians have been able to concealed carry since 2016, but those guns had to be in a holster, and concealed carriers weren’t allowed in courthouses.
Starting next week, it can be pants pockets, coat pockets, waistbands, anything that hides the gun from plain sight.
While it’s not required, law enforcement is asking those who carry to be mindful of your surroundings and above all know what you’re doing.
“It’s going to make things a little different with folks being able to carry without a permit,” said Chickasaw County Sheriff, James Meyers.
Something law enforcement asks is get the training to use your weapon.
“Once you start carrying a firearm, you assume a lot of liability, and all the training that you can take can’t do nothing but help you,” Meyers continued.
“You can hurt yourself if you don’t. Not only hurt someone else but you can hurt your own self by not knowing the proper way to use that weapon,” Monroe County Sheriff, Cecil Cantrell said.
Meyers says taking a class costs less than $100.
Not only does it give you knowledge on the weapon and the laws, but a Mississippi permit is honored in 34 states across the country.
What’s also not required is informing law enforcement on if you have a weapon on your person.
Cantrell says that’s something you might want to consider.
“…to keep anything from going wrong,” Cantrell said. “You know, a lot of times people don’t keep an officer aware of what’s going on. Police officers are there to protect and serve. They’re not there to hurt anyone.”
“We encounter somebody we don’t know. If they don’t tell us that they have a weapon and then we see one, you know, we’re going to use all precautions to be safe on our part.”
Both sheriffs are supporters of citizens’ second amendment rights, but say these weapons should be used for protection and for protection only.
“I wouldn’t be boastful with it. I wouldn’t be trying to intimidate anybody with it or anything like that,” said Cantrell. “I would use my weapon for protection. That’s why you need your weapon. It’s for protection.”
Of course, certain laws still stand with the carry.
You can’t take a firearm into any government buildings or businesses with a no gun sign.
Cantrell and Meyers say if you call their sheriff’s office, they will assist you in finding a firearms class.
Monroe County: (662) 369-2468
Chickasaw County: (662) 456-2339