Biloxi Police visit businesses to explain new Open Carry Law
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Biloxi Police are urging businesses to make a decision now on their own policy regarding the state's new Open Carry law. The law goes into effect July first, making it legal for Mississippians to carry guns or other weapons in plain view. On Tuesday, Biloxi Police visited various businesses to make sure owners and managers know their rights.
Sergeant Jackie Rhodes printed a stack of sample signs to hand out. His first stop was Edgewater Village in west Biloxi.
"We're just going to try to hit as many businesses as we can to get a heads up," said Rhodes.
Biloxi Police are going door-to-door to raise awareness about Mississippi's Open Carry Law.
"Which says basically if someone wants to walk into here with a gun strapped to their hip, perfectly legal for them to do that, as long as they're 18 years of age or older and not a convicted felon," Rhodes explained to a restaurant manager.
Rhodes said businesses that don't want guns or other weapons inside their establishments can post a sign at each entrance and anywhere else on their property.
"This is the recommended signage that Biloxi Police is recommending, and it has to be seen ten feet away from any approach to your business," Rhodes told a store manager.
And those who violate the businesses' weapons ban could be arrested for trespassing and their weapons temporarily seized.
So what happens if a business does not post a sign?
"You don't post a sign and somebody walks in with a weapon that you don't want them to be in your business with a weapon, just ask them to leave and advise them that no weapons are allowed in the facility. Once they're told, if they refuse to leave, then they're subject to being arrested for trespassing," said Rhodes. "My guess is most people that walk into a business that doesn't have a sign posted with a weapon, once the manager tells them no weapon, they're going to walk back out, put it in their car, walk back in and take care of their business."
Several owners and managers told WLOX News they are opposed to having weapons inside their businesses.
"Make a decision on whatever they're going to do. If they don't have a problem with somebody openly carrying a weapon in their business, that's fine," said Rhodes.
Biloxi Police say they will try to reach as many businesses as possible over the next few weeks. If you'd like officers to visit your business to explain the Open Carry Law, just call them at (228) 348-8232.
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