Panel breaks down open carry issues - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Panel breaks down open carry issues

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

House Bill 2 was dissected by the major players as they sat side by side at a panel discussion.

"In Simpson County folks think House Bill 2 is in effect and I haven't seen one person open carrying a gun. Not a one," said Representative Andy Gipson, author of the bill. 

Gipson was trying to shoot down continued rumors that open carry will cause chaos. But says his message feels like a broken record.

"It doesn't create open carry. Open carry comes from the Constitution. So I can't help it if some people looked at House Bill 2 and didn't go back to the Constitution," said Gipson.

Attorney General Jim Hood wrote an opinion last summer in response to concealed weapon questions by the Ellisville police chief.

It was after that opinion that an NRA member called Gipson. At that point, he started researching the issue that led to House Bill 2. He says they didn't get any opposition until after its passage.

"We were a bit hoodwinked by this," said Chief Ken Winter, Executive Director for the Mississippi Association of Chiefs of Police

"The answer is, they were not hoodwinked. They thought it was a conceal carry bill. That's exactly what it is," Gipson replied.

Chief Winter said they thought everyone would still need a permit to carry. And that state law interpretations wouldn't change. That was until he read the bill.

"That's when we started raising the concerns and the questions. And that's when we saw that hey this is changing the whole landscape of how law enforcement has approached this issue forever," said Winter. "I feel like something was fixed that wasn't broken."

The deadline for briefs to be filed with the Supreme Court on this issue is next week. This week alone, the NRA, 80 legislators and the Governor have filed briefs to join in on the case.

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