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Thread: Attorney General's open carry opinion

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    Regular Member MSRebel54's Avatar
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    Attorney General's open carry opinion

    Attorney General Jim Holder....er...uh...Hood issued the following opinion on open carry in Mississippi. I was just wondering what ya'll thought of it.

    ***************

    ISSUE (question posed by a police chief in Mississippi) AG Opinion dated June 14, 2012

    Is there a law in Mississippi that requires a permit holder to completely cover his weapon in public by means of a shirt, jacket or other piece of clothing?

    RESPONSE
    .
    Yes. The authority to legally carry a pistol or revolver is derived from Section 45-9-101 of the Mississippi Code which provides in the first sentence: "(1 )(a) The Department of
    Public Safety is authorized to issue licenses to carry stun guns, concealed pistols or revolvers to persons qualified in this section."

    This provision does not authorize a person to carry a pistol "concealed in part", but requires that it be totally concealed. This conclusion is succinctly set forth in Section 45-9-101 (18): " ... Further, nothing in this section shall be construed to allow the open and unconcealed carrying of any stun gun or deadly weapon as described in Section 97-37-1 Mississippi Code of 1972."

    Section 97-37-1 prohibits the carrying of listed weapons "concealed in whole or in part":
    (1) switchblade knife, metallic knuckles, blackjack, slingshot, pistol, revolver, or any rifle with a barrel of less than sixteen (16) inches in length, or any shotgun with a barrel of less than eighteen (18) inches in length, machine gun or any fully automatic firearm or deadly weapon, or any muffler or silencer for any firearm, whether or not it is accompanied by a firearm, or uses or attempts to use against another person any imitation firearm, shall upon conviction be punished as follows:

    Thus, it is illegal to carry the weapons described in Section 97-37-1(1) without securing a license as provided in Section 45-9-101, which license authorizes the carrying of a concealed pistol or revolver. The securing of the 'enhanced" permit provided in Section
    97-37-7 does not abrogate the requirement that the weapons be carried totally concealed.

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    Regular Member 4angrybadgers's Avatar
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    http://forum.opencarry.org/forums/sh...=1#post1779206
    It's already been posted and torn apart.

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    Regular Member MSRebel54's Avatar
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    My bad. I'm sorry. I looked over the topics until I saw one I'd already seen, but I didn't make the connection with the topic. I'll try to be more careful in the future.

    Thanks!

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    Regular Member FedFirefighter's Avatar
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    Not to keep beating this dead horse, but after reading the AG's answer again, he is incorrect right off the bat. The MS Constitution authorizes a person to bear arms, not anything in the Code. The code forbids concealing weapons, and then authorizes handguns with a permit. Just makes me wonder if he is really that ignorant of the law, or using his position to force his opinion.

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    Regular Member MSRebel54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FedFirefighter View Post
    Not to keep beating this dead horse, but after reading the AG's answer again, he is incorrect right off the bat. The MS Constitution authorizes a person to bear arms, not anything in the Code. The code forbids concealing weapons, and then authorizes handguns with a permit. Just makes me wonder if he is really that ignorant of the law, or using his position to force his opinion.
    Yeah agreed. This kind of stuff just irks me to no end. In my opinion, MOST lawmakers pretend the Constitution doesn't exist, both on the state and federal level, or it is at best a thorn in their side. It is obvious this AG doesn't believe anyone other than "authorities" should be displaying a firearm in open sight. Therefore the opinion comes down in that manner. The agenda is obvious.

    First they skirted the Constitution, knowing it did not authorize the regulation of anything but concealed carry by including the words "in whole or in part" in the code. They could still claim they were only regulating concealed carry, while effectively making open carry a physical impossibility. But when 45-9-101 came into being, it became a way to open carry because their definition of concealed carry included a sidearm in a holster in plain view.

    Now, AG Hood seems to have issued an opinion that allows him to have his cake and eat it too. Concealed means totally concealed if you have a firearms permit, but it means partly concealed if you don't.

    I'm wondering what practical effect, if any, this opinion would have. Since it is not against the law to open carry, there is no law they can charge you with breaking in that regard. If they were to charge you with carrying a concealed weapon (while openly carrying), then one could use the defense of having a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

    My guess is that the charge would be something not directly related, such as disturbing the peace, or brandishing, or some other such nonsense.

    I don't think it's likely the legislature will fix it anytime soon, or that there will even be a test case, but I can always hope.

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    Regular Member 4angrybadgers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSRebel54 View Post
    My bad. I'm sorry. I looked over the topics until I saw one I'd already seen, but I didn't make the connection with the topic. I'll try to be more careful in the future.

    Thanks!
    Not your fault, the other topic's title didn't exactly fit the new discussion that came up.
    I agree with your assessment of the AG opinion - it's trying to fit two opposing definitions to the same word.

    Quote Originally Posted by FedFirefighter View Post
    Not to keep beating this dead horse, but after reading the AG's answer again, he is incorrect right off the bat. The MS Constitution authorizes a person to bear arms, not anything in the Code. The code forbids concealing weapons, and then authorizes handguns with a permit. Just makes me wonder if he is really that ignorant of the law, or using his position to force his opinion.
    From the image of the opinion posted by rickward (in the longer thread I linked), it appears that it was actually a "special assistant AG" (or something like that) that wrote the actual opinion. I wonder if the AG himself really looked it over - not that it excuses the blatant stupidity of that opinion.

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    Regular Member Eeyore's Avatar
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    Exclamation

    Since the other thread got way off-topic, I'm going to post this here.

    Attached is a draft letter to my legislators regarding this travesty. Thanks in advance for any constructive criticism or suggestions.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Guns don't kill people. Drivers on cell phones do.

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    Regular Member 4angrybadgers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eeyore View Post
    Since the other thread got way off-topic, I'm going to post this here.

    Attached is a draft letter to my legislators regarding this travesty. Thanks in advance for any constructive criticism or suggestions.
    It looks very comprehensive and well-written, Eeyore. I can't find fault in it.

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    Regular Member MSRebel54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eeyore View Post
    Since the other thread got way off-topic, I'm going to post this here.

    Attached is a draft letter to my legislators regarding this travesty. Thanks in advance for any constructive criticism or suggestions.
    Quite good, with impeccable logic and facts, in my opinion. I certainly would be interested in any response(s) you get.

    There's one thing in the letter we both know however. When you were discussing "in whole or in part", you said words to the effect that you didn't believe the current way it is used, or trying to be used, "was the legislature's intent". I believe it was precisely their intent. They knew that constitutionally they could only regulate or forbid concealed weapons, and they wanted a way to prevent citizens from going about openly armed. Simple, just call what is not concealed, concealed, and now they are regulating concealed weapons, and in their warped widdle minds, be able to argue that they were still within the bounds of the Constitution.

    It is a good point to have in the letter, I'm just saying we both know how it went down.

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    AG's opinions are not binding .. don't read them as such. You cannot plead estopple based on an AG opinion. I don't know why they even write them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidmcbeth View Post
    AG's opinions are not binding .. don't read them as such. You cannot plead estopple based on an AG opinion. I don't know why they even write them.
    AG opinions are issued at the request of an agency or official of the state to give guidance or clear up confusion the official may have. Though they have no force of law, they do influence the way an agency will interpret the law. In this case, the AG's opinion perpetuates a myth at the peril of citizens that will be harassed and falsely charged.

    As I've states before, a declaratory judgment is in order here, but for some reason this hasn't been pursued.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eeyore View Post
    Since the other thread got way off-topic, I'm going to post this here.

    Attached is a draft letter to my legislators regarding this travesty. Thanks in advance for any constructive criticism or suggestions.
    Is there still time for constructive criticism or has the letter been sent?

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    Regular Member Eeyore's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by georg jetson View Post
    Is there still time for constructive criticism or has the letter been sent?
    dun bin sint. [My best Mississippi vernacular]

    I tweaked some wording slightly before I sent the letters, but the gist remains unchanged. I'm not holding my breath for a reply. My Delegate is a black, female Democrat, and one of my Senators is a black, male Democrat. (I point this out only because blacks, females, and Democrats have historically not been champions of gun rights. I'm familiar with the history of gun control and its relationship to Jim Crow, so I think their position is counter-intuitive, but there it is.) So they're probably all in favor of stricter (and more-confusing) interpretations.

    Really, though, I didn't know who else to write to. I'm sure the AG and the Governor would both ignore it.
    Guns don't kill people. Drivers on cell phones do.

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    Jim Hood is an IDIOT

    I want to say that Jim Hood is an absolute idiot as far as the law is concerned. This is NOT the first time he has said something BLATANTLY wrong but it is the worst so far.

    Several years ago the State Funded Universities wanted to offer a program of Casino Resort Management. The course was a modification of Hotel/Restaurant Management programs that were already being offered. The only difference was going to be specializing in the Casino Field vs. general resorts. The state law on the issue is that no state school can offer courses on casino dealing. The only way to become a dealer was to go to a private dealers school. Jim Hood made a BIG stink about the "Casino" portion of the new college program. He claimed that it was "against the law and he would sue any state school who offered the course", at this same time Tulane University was offering the same program at the Biloxi campus. This was allowed because they are a private university and do not accept state funding. Jim Hood found a way to bully the state into accepting HIS view on the subject, even when it was WRONG.

    Should you the reader be interested in Mr. Hood's ethics, look at his last campaign for Attorney General. He went out and did much mud slinging, and outright dirty campaigning to keep his state office. He is also one of the ONLY Democrats to win state office this last go-round. His best friend was FORMER Attorney General Mike Moore (of the Tobacco Lawsuit fame), who also held the title of Attorney General for MULTIPLE TERMS. I believe that we need to "throw the bum out" next election.

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    Absent a statute making it illegal to open carry, their can be no prosecution for open carying.

    So, carry on!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    Absent a statute making it illegal to open carry, their can be no prosecution for open carying.

    So, carry on!
    Alas, someone needs to tell the Hattiesburg American about this, and also Lamar County Sheriff Danny Rigel.


    See the American article "On the Books-A look at gun laws in Mississippi", Jan. 12, 2013, at
    http://www.hattiesburgamerican.com/a...s-Mississippi; see Page 4 of the article, "State law allows issuance of licenses for concealed carry of weapons, but forbids open and unconcealed carry by civilians."

    Note: I can't say for sure if Sheriff Rigel is under this confusion, the article doesn't actually attribute this nonsense to the sheriff, and the American is a Gannett paper and thus rather left-wing and not a very reliable source of information.

    Bill Larkins
    volunteer, George Washington and DeSoto National Forests

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