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Thread: How can I exercise my Constitutional right to bear arms in Mississippi?

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    Regular Member MSRebel54's Avatar
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    My question to the AG, the DPS, or lawyers, or whoever would be tasked with answering this question, is for them to tell ME just how I can exercise my Constitutional right to keep and BEAR arms.

    Article 3 Section 12 of the MS Constitution, clearly and unambiguously states the "right" of every citizen ...shall not be called into question...except that the legislature may forbid or regulate the carrying of concealed weapons.

    So the legislature did exactly that. Regulate concealed carry, but in a manner that is designed to skirt Article 3 Section 12 altogether. The wording of 97-37-1, "concealed in whole or in part" does not specifically nullify open carry, for if it did, it would be unconstitutional under Article 3 Section 12. So the right to keep and bear arms still exists under Article 3 Section 12. But how does one exercise the right that is defined in that section? Government is guaranteeing a RIGHT, and then preventing any way to exercise that guaranteed right.

    If carrying a sidearm on the outside of your clothes in a holster is "concealed in part" and therefore concealed, or if tying a string around the trigger guard and hanging it from one's neck is also "concealed", then in WHAT manner can I exercise the right defined in Article 3 Section 12?

    It is STILL a right. Someone needs to tell me just how I legally go about exercising that right.

    If the AG's office (or the DPS for that matter) refuses to provide a way in which I can exercise my Constitutional right, as stated in the MS Constitution, then they are a traitor to their oath to 'uphold and defend the Constitution for the State of Mississippi'.

    I think some bold lawyer should take this to court base on the fact that a constitutionally guaranteed right that is impossible to exercise, is no right at all, and therefore the code is unconstitutional.

    And if a lawyer needs a case, I don't think it would be hard to get someone in his locale to walk around town open carrying until they got charged with "carrying a concealed weapon". I think it's a matter of money, or it would have already been done. No individual has the money it would cost for something like this, and no lawyer wants to do it 'pro bono'.

    So, in the meantime, we're stuck with an oxymoron (or just plain moronic) wording of the code in 97-37-1.



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    Many have asked this question of our AG and none have gotten an answer. It's not just the statute but also the the case law interpreting the statute that has caused the problem. A holstered firearm in plain view is not "concealed" by any rational definition yet according to our brilliant judicial minds it is.

    To get this changed either the statute has to change to define aholstered firearm as not "concealed in part"or a court case has to redefine "concealed in part" Both are an uphill battle as evidenced by by Senate bill 2153 which would have removed the prohibition on permit holders from carrying in parks and would have allowed churches to decide for themselves whether or not to allow people to carry in church. SB21 53 passed the Senate by a vote of 48 to 3 and then died in theHouse Judiciary B Committee yesterday never allowing the full house to vote.

    Your question is one we need to keep asking and get as many people as we can to ask. We also need to take a more active role in finding and supporting candidates who will work to honor the plain language of our constitution. I don't really see any other way outside of an arrest andcourt case where one man takes the risk for all and works through the appeal process with no guarantees since English grammar is obviously not high on the list of prerequisites for serving as a Supreme Court Justice here.

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    mark edward marchiafava wrote:
    Not true, JT, I've gotten an answer from the AG's Jim Dale: "get a permit."
    Well yeah... If you consider that ananswer.



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    or you can sue the state in federal court for violating the 2nd Amendment. Appropriate case law should be Murdock v. Pennsylvania.

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    Get a Permit to Open Carry a Handgun or Pistol in Mississippi.

    However, if you REALLY want to make them angry..., Open Carry a Long-gun (Rifle, Shotgun, AR-15 type, or AK-47 type, etc.) around town.

    Just watch out for Schools and Churches, and Local Bans such as: Parks, Public Meetings,Political Rallies, Parades,and Political Meetings.

    When you Carry a Long-gun make sure it is exposed and slung around your Body or Arm, and that no part of the Long-gun is obsecured from plain view.

    However, if you do not want to get a Permit to carry a Pistol, tell them you are traveling, and are not a Tramp, and prove it..., per Mississippi Code 97-37-9(b).

    Do not carry any Firearm/Weapon in a rude and angry manner.

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    DKSuddeth wrote:
    or you can sue the state in federal court for violating the 2nd Amendment. Appropriate case law should be Murdock v. Pennsylvania.
    I don't think this is an option since the SCOTUS is deliberating incorporation of of the 2A towards the states as we speak. What we are talking about here is an convoluted legal definition of "concealed in part" that was imposed by MS Supreme Court. What actually constitutes concealment or partial concealmentisn't defined in the statute. I don't see how a Federal lawsuit comes into play at this point.

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    Regular Member DCKilla's Avatar
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    Excuse me, this is my first post on this board.

    So, all is needed is some brave soul to become a scape goat, correct?

    Everyone knows if you holster a firearm in the open thenthere's no attempt to conceal. Then there's that "in part" BS that some how applies to OCing. IMO they must prove your intent to conceal. I mean if you intend to conceal without a permit then you must be punished according to the law based on the MS Constitution.

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    The problem in Mississippi is, as with MUCH of The South, that there are too many Jim Crow Laws that still on the books.

    These Laws were written to disarm Black People.

    Well the interpretation of the Law is:

    1. In Mississippi one can not Carry a Handgun Concealed, 'in whole' or 'in part'.

    2. A High Mississippi State Judge has ruled a Handgun in a Holster, even in plain view, is Concealed 'in part'.

    3. 97-37-1 stands on that basis, several exceptions aside under Mississippi Code 97-37-9.

    4. Until these Jim Crow Laws are removed this is the way it will continue to be in Mississippi and throughout MUCH of The South.

    5. It is no different in Georgia or Tennessee either.

    P.S.: My Father always told me, '... Son, Pistols and Alcohol are a very inparticular kind of Politic, you see...'

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    Regular Member Thundar's Avatar
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    Question: How can I exercise my Constitutional right to bare arms in Mississippi?

    Answer: Buy a shirt without sleeves.

    Maybe you can use a clear plastic holster.


    He wore his gun outside his pants for all the honest world to see. Pancho & Lefty

    The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us....There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! ...The war is inevitable–and let it come! I repeat it, Sir, let it come …………. PATRICK HENRY speech 1776

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    Thundar wrote:
    Question: How can I exercise my Constitutional right to bare arms in Mississippi?

    Answer: Buy a shirt without sleeves.

    Maybe you can use a clear plastic holster.

    I dunno man, this is Mississippi. "Wifebeaters" are something of a state uniform. :P

    And according to that State Supreme Court decision that mentioned a holster was "partial concealment", there was comment that even hanging a gun from a string around your neck would be partial concealment, since half of the gun's surface was hidden from view. (Not a word-for-word quote, but you get the idea.) So even a clear holster would be "concealing" part of the pistol against your side. Dontcha love the logic in that decision? :quirky

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    To be clear about something, there is no "holding" like y'all are discussing. The comments are "dicta" which means that they are not binding law. They may or may not be indicative of what the Court would actually hold, but the comments themselves do not have the force of law.

    Here's the relevant portion from my summary of weapons laws:

    In re: L.M., S.T. & D.S. v. State[/i], 600 So.2d 967, 971 (Miss. 1992) (Noble, concurring) (β€œI discovered that carrying a concealed weapon in whole or in part even meant that a revolver carried in a holster on a man's hip was a partially concealed weapon, riding a horse with a saddle holster and revolver under a person's leg violated the statute; and that covering a weapon with feet, hands, or clothing meant that the weapon was concealed under the interpretation of the statute. Conceivably, carrying a revolver suspended from the neck by a leather throng could be partially concealing it.”)

    Also, it is my understanding the AG can't give a private citizen an opinion on a legal issue.

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    Not true, JT, I've gotten an answer from the AG's Jim Dale: "get a permit."
    I get a 'permit' to exercise a government privilege, not a natural right. I don't get a government permit to breathe do I, which is my natural right.

    My question remains: Under the current MS code, HOW do I exercise my right under Article 3 Section 12 of the MS Constitution, WITHOUT violating the law?

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    Regular Member DCKilla's Avatar
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    If you're not making the attempt to conceal then why worry?

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    If you're not making the attempt to conceal then why worry?
    There is no way you can NOT make the attempt to conceal under MS law. Re-read some of the post in the thread about 'concealed in whole or in part'. The MS legislature has done what lawmakers typically do. They have weasel worded they way around something the Constitution clearly defined as 'blue' and turned it around to mean 'red'.

    The MS Constitution Article 3 Section 12 states that ....."although the legislature may regulate or forbid the carrying of concealed weapons." It does NOT say they may regulate or forbid the carrying of "partly concealed" weapons. Concealed means hidden from view. It is either hidden, or it isn't. You either see what it is, or you don't. What is 'partly concealed' anyway? That's like being 'partly pregnant' isn't is?

    The Constitution used the word "concealed", the legislature added the adverb "partly" to completely deconstruct the meaning of the Constitution's intentions, and the word concealed.

    So now, in MS you have to have a concealed carry permit to OPEN carry.

    My question was, and there is no answer to it, how can I exercise my Constitutional right under the law? (right to keep and bear arms, not right to conceal). Answer: I CAN'T. Until this ridiculous, stupid, code is changed to remove the words, "in part".

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    Look, atleast I told you what I would do.

    Carry a Rifle or Shotgun, or any other hand-held Weapon.

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    Out of an abundance of caution, OCDO codes MS a licensed open carry state. if somebody can get this clarified otherwise thru an Ag opinion, bill, court case, let us know!

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    Regular Member DCKilla's Avatar
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    MSRebel, I'm not ignorant to what the law says.



    I think that the wording in the statute can be easily changed to "concealed or attempting to conceal" with an amendment to that statute. It doesn't look like a big change, but a very effective one. That's what we need to be pushing for, a change in the statute. No one needs to be going to jail for something that was defined so stupidly.




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    aadvark wrote:
    Look, atleast I told you what I would do.

    Carry a Rifle or Shotgun, or any other hand-held Weapon.
    Well, yeah, I suppose that would be legal, but it wouldn't be practical. My guess is I'd end up being charged with something unrelated to the firearm such as disturbing the peace, causing a disturbance, or something along those lines, in a best case scenario. In a worst case scenario, I'd probably be killed by some trigger happy cop.

    My references to the Constitution and law in this thread were directed at handguns, since 97-37-1 does not apply to a rifle with a barrel over 18" long or a shotgun with a barrel over 16" long. I was under the impression we were discussing the open carry of handguns, not long guns.

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    DCKilla wrote:
    MSRebel, I'm not ignorant to what the law says.



    I think that the wording in the statute can be easily changed to "concealed or attempting to conceal" with an amendment to that statute. It doesn't look like a big change, but a very effective one. That's what we need to be pushing for, a change in the statute. No one needs to be going to jail for something that was defined so stupidly.


    I agree the wording should be changed or amended. I'm not sure however that "attempting to conceal" is all that much better than "in whole or in part". "Attempting" sometimes goes toward a person's intentions, and opens up a whole other can of worms. But I see where you're going with that. Although, I personally, don't think the "attempt" language would be necessary, since if a cop noticed a bulge, at that point, the weapon would actually be concealed. I'd say just leave it at "concealed". Most courts know the definition of concealed. We both agree it needs to be changed in some way however, so that open doesn't mean concealed.

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    I agree that the wording "in part" needs to be deleted or changed in the statute. It would also help to add a definition of "concealed" like many state statutes do. Here are some examples I found.

    Louisiana

    Concealed Handgun―any handgun as defined in R.S. 40:1379.3(J)(1), which is carried on a person in such a manner as to hide or obscure the handgun from plain view.

    North Dakota

    62.1-04-01. Definition of concealed. A firearm or dangerous weapon is concealed if it is carried in such a manner as to not be discernible by the ordinary observation of a passerby.

    There is no requirement that there be absolute invisibility of the firearm or dangerous weapon, merely that it not be ordinarily discernible. A firearm or dangerous weapon is considered concealed if it is not secured, and is worn under clothing or carried in a bundle that is held or carried by the individual, or transported in a vehicle under the individual's control or direction and available to the individual, including beneath the seat or in a glove compartment. A firearm or dangerous weapon is not considered concealed if it is:

    1. Carried in a belt holster which is wholly or substantially visible or carried in a case designed for carrying a firearm or dangerous weapon and which is wholly or substantially visible;

    2. Locked in a closed trunk or luggage compartment of a motor vehicle;

    3. Carried in the field while lawfully engaged in hunting, trapping, or target shooting, whether visible or not; or

    4. Carried by any person permitted by law to possess a handgun unloaded and in a secure wrapper from the place of purchase to that person's home or place of business, or to a place of repair, or back from those locations.

    5. A bow and arrow, an unloaded rifle or shotgun, or an unloaded weapon that will expel, or is readily capable of expelling, a projectile by the action of a spring, compressed air, or compressed gas including any such weapon commonly referred to as a BB gun, air rifle, or CO2 gun, while carried in a motor vehicle.

    Texas

    (3) "Concealed handgun" means a handgun, the presence of which is not openly discernible to the ordinary observation of a reasonable person.

    Virginia


    If any person carries about his person, hidden from common observation, (i) any pistol, revolver,… For the purpose of this section, a weapon shall be deemed to be hidden from common observation when it is observable but is of such deceptive appearance as to disguise the weapon's true nature.




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    mark edward marchiafava wrote:
    Instead of debating the Brady bunch, why not focus attention on Jim Dale at the AG's office and his totally asinine statement of "get a permit?"
    Didn't see where anyone advocated a debate with the Brady's over this. IMO trying to change the statute is a better option than bothering with Dale or the AG himselffor that matter. They won't address issues to private citizens so other than trying to get info from their already issued opinions there's not much we can expect from that office. Once the statute is clarified then the silly concurring opinion that started this mess becomes a non-factor, especially if the term "concealed is defined in the statute.

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    If anyone is seriously interested in seeing this changed, I believe JT has correctly pointed out the most expedient method of getting that accomplished.

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    IMO trying to change the statute is a better option than bothering with Dale or the AG himself for that matter.
    Ya'll correct me if I'm wrong, but that would have to be introduced in the legislature, passed by both the House and Senate, and signed by Governor would it not?

    And certainly the definition of concealed, as in the provided examples would work just fine. I have written two or three of my state Reps about the statute, to no avail. I don't think I've ever even gotten a reply on this particular subject.

    Consider too, that even if it passed both House and Senate, would whoever the sitting governor is sign it? There would be so much political lobbying against it from various groups and liberal newspapers etc. I'm not saying it 'can't be done'. I'm just saying I think it would be an uphill road to travel for sure.

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    Yes we are discussing Handguns.

    However, I merely answered the question under the Title of this Post.

    Unless I am mistaken the Title went: How can I my Cocnstitutional Right to Bear Arms in Mississippi?

    I merely responded based off of the discussion about the Concealed 'in-whole' or 'in-part' dilemma, that one needs only to Bear a Long-gun.

    If a Long-gun would prove impratical, one need only Bear a Hand-held Arm, such as a Bowie Knife or a Baton, etc..

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    Is there any way one of you guys could type out a PDF or word file that explains what we would like in a bill to give "concealed" a definition? I'm not to good with thiskind of thing. That's why I ask.

    I would like something so we can walk up to our rep and explain what we would like to happen. Mailing questions is not goodenough anymore.

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