State lawmaker crafting gun ban bill - - The News for South Mississippi

State lawmaker crafting gun ban bill

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

As life goes on for the survivors of the Sandy Hook school shootings in Connecticut, the tragedy has reaching effects into Mississippi. That type of violence hit close to home after the 1997 shootings at Pearl High School which left two students dead.

State Rep. Andy Gipson says it's a memory that will always bring about awareness. As chairman of the House Judiciary B Committee, which oversees public safety, Gipson says mass shootings across the country can't be ignored.

"The recent shootings in Connecticut have given many concerns," Gipson said.

Gipson says those concerns have prompted his committee to look at current state law and decide whether to introduce legislation to strengthen it. That could include a range of measures to make sure schools across the state are secure.

"'I believe that there may be some work that we need to do on that front to make sure our children in Mississippi are safe," Gipson said.

In addition, Gipson said he intends to craft a bill to ban anyone with a mental illness from getting a gun permit. With mental illness often playing a role in mass shootings, like the one in Connecticut, Gipson says proactive measures need to be in place to prevent potential crime.

"We believe our schools are safe in Mississippi but anytime something like this happens it raises my awareness of the issue and we need to think about are there additional steps we can take to keep children safe in our schools," Gipson said.

Gipson said the ban would only apply to those diagnosed by a doctor or through a state mental health facility. While the details are yet to be decided lawmakers will decide what, if anything, will happen.

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