Open carry law worries Mississippi police chiefs

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - More than 200 officers from across the state are in Biloxi for the annual meeting of the Mississippi Association of Police Chiefs. One of the hot topics for discussion is House Bill Two.

In just two weeks, any adult in Mississippi will be able to carry a gun for all to see.

"We're not happy with the bill," said Olive Branch Police Chief Don Gammage, "but at the same time, we have to go now and do what we need to do to make sure our officers understand the bill."

While there's a lot of uncertainly over the law, one thing is very clear for D'Iberville Police Chief Wayne Payne.

"I think we're going to get a lot of calls because people see someone carrying a gun, they're going to call the police," Chief Payne said. "They've always done that. We're just going to have to be better trained to respond to those calls."

Come July 1, one of the major concerns these police chiefs have is training their police officers to handle something they've never dealt with before.

"It's going to be quite a challenge for all law enforcement to adjust because it's not the good people we're worried about; it's the ones that are more prone to get in trouble," Starkville Police Chief David Lindley explained.

'Training' is the one word you hear most at this conference, according to Chief Jerry Gardner with the Richton Police Department.

"We're going to have to train them now to be more alert on people carrying weapons now that they're not going to be used to seeing," Gardner said.

Despite the open carry law, Lindley said there are still some restrictions.

"Private property owners, like stores and things like that, can still post signs that prohibit people from coming in armed."

All the chiefs agree on one thing: this new law will come with plenty of new challenges.

Even with the new law, people still have to get a state issued permit to carry a concealed weapon.

Copyright 2013 WLOX. All rights reserved.