Despite court injunction, PRC sheriff upholds Open Carry Law

PEARL RIVER COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Despite a judge's injunction late last week, at least two South Mississippi law enforcement agencies have allowed the Open Carry Law to go into effect. Since July first, people in Pearl River County have been allowed to tote guns around town openly.

"We're not going to arrest them, because we are going to allow them to do it. Our mindset or our thought was the law went in effect at midnight Sunday night and they have a legal right to do it and we're not going to mess with them for doing it," said Sheriff David Allison.

The sheriff said he's honoring the new law as it was intended by state lawmakers. He made the decision on Saturday, a day after a Hinds County Circuit Judge granted an injunction temporarily halting the law from being enacted. The judge stated that the law is too vague and could present a danger to the public. The sheriff said that ruling does not apply to Pearl River County.

"Our stance is he's not part of our jurisdiction and he has a right to do whatever he wants to do in Hinds County, so we're not abiding by his ruling," said Allison. "I just don't think the Hinds County judge has jurisdiction statewide to override a law."

"We support the constitution of the United States and the right to have and bear arms and we support that. Our legislators passed this law to make it open carry and we support that," he added.

People WLOX talked to in Pearl River County seemed to side with the sheriff.

"I absolutely support the sheriff's decision," said Chrisie Brasington of Carriere. "It's only going to affect law abiding citizens. It's not going to affect the criminals. They're not going to go, 'Oh my God, we can't open carry' and leave their guns at home."

"I support him 100-percent. He's the chief law enforcer of our county and that's his right," said Billy Spiers of Poplarville.

Sheriff Allison said he will continue to uphold the Open Carry Law while he waits for an official ruling on the matter.

"Whatever they rule on, we will honor," said Allison.

Poplarville's police chief told WLOX News he is taking the same stance by honoring the Open Carry Law in his city.

In Picayune, the mayor said he will ask the police chief for his opinion on the matter at Tuesday night's city council meeting.

"We'll determine if we're going to take a vote or not. We always work hand-in-hand with Pearl River County Sheriff Allison, so I'm sure the stance is going to be something very similar," said Mayor Ed Pinero.

The court hearing that could decide the fate of the law is scheduled for next Monday.

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