Gun law still on stand by

Published 12:00 pm Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Kidd heard arguments Monday from plaintiffs who sued to stop the law and a state attorney who defended it. Plaintiffs’ attorney Lisa Ross calls the law unconstitutionally vague because “men and women of common intelligence” could disagree about its effect.

“If the right to bear arms is unlimited, it means you could carry a gun anywhere, anytime, for any reason,” Ross said. “We are a civilized people. That’s a Wild West mentality.”

She said a previously enacted state law prohibits guns on school and college campuses.

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Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith and others sued to block the measure. They said it could put law enforcement officers and others in danger if people are carrying guns with no training.

Assistant Attorney General Harold Pizzetta says plaintiffs are trying to make the issue confusing.

“What plaintiffs are attempting to do is make this a mess,” Pizzetta said in respond to arguments that the law would be confusing.

“It is clear you don’t need an open-carry permit to walk down the middle of the street and mind your own business,” he said.

Earlier this year, legislators passed and Republican Gov. Phil Bryant signed House Bill 2, which says adults don’t need a permit to carry a gun not concealed. Supporters say it reinforces the right to bear arms.

Attorney General Jim Hood, a Democrat, issued a nonbinding legal opinion June 13 that says that even when the law takes effect, sheriffs can still ban weapons in courthouses and people can still ban weapons on their own private property, including restaurants and stores. Hood also said guns are still banned on school and college campuses.