Judge extends order blocking open-carry gun law
Mississippi law was to take effect July 1
UPDATED 2:55 PM CDT Jul 08, 2013
JACKSON, Miss. —A Hinds County circuit judge has extended a temporary block on a Mississippi open-carry gun law.
During Monday's hearing, Lisa Ross, the attorney representing Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith and others suing to block House Bill 2, argued that the right to bear arms is not without limitations.
"It puts puts law enforcement in a very precarious situation," Ross said.
Hinds County Constable Jerry Moore testified that he thinks House Bill 2 is confusing. He said he would be unsure about who he would be able to approach on the job.
"That's a fearful thing because you don't know who is who," Moore said.
Ross asked Hinds County Circuit Court Judge Winston Kidd to extend the restraining order until the Mississippi Legislature can meet again to clarify the law, which was to take effect July 1.
Assistant Attorney General Harold Pizetta argued that House Bill 2 says a permit is needed when carrying a concealed weapon. He said it does not do away with restrictions.
Pizetta said the state can restrict the right to carry guns openly on school campuses. He said the right is subject to reasonable restrictions.
Pizetta told the judge that the open-carry law would not lead to a "Wild West scenario."
Kidd said he will issue a ruling on Friday.
The law has been on hold since June 28, when Smith was granted an injunction based on concerns he and other law enforcement representatives had about the law. The block applies statewide.
"If there's an amendment that creates some confusion, it should certainly be clarified and certainly should give citizens the answers that they deserve," Smith said.
State Rep. Andy Gipson, who authored the bill, said the concerns some have are unfounded.
"They believe that by blocking House Bill 2, they're blocking open-carry, but the truth is -- and I hope this comes out of the hearing -- the Constitution already provides for open-carry. Nothing that the judge could do could alter that," Gipson said.
Gipson said he expects the state to take the law to the Mississippi Supreme Court if Kidd blocks it from taking effect.