Below is a copy of a letter posted on www.opencarry.org. Mr. William Pierce wrote to Representative Andy Gipson asking about how the passage of HB2 affects open carry in MS. Rep. Gipson’s opinion is that after July 1, 2013 Mississippi becomes an open carry state. Actually as Rep. Gipson states, MS has always been an open carry state as provided in the State Constitution. This law defines concealed and prevents the unconstitutional interpretation of the law by the Attorney General and some judges.
I have no intention of openly carrying a weapon. I actually do not want anyone to know if I have a weapon or not, but our state constitution does not give the legislature the right to prevent open carry. So if you want to open carry it is your right.
From: Pierce, William
Sent: Monday, March 04, 2013 4:35 PM
To: Andy Gipson
Subject: House Bill 2 and related question
I recall reading that any weapon could be considered concealed if any part of it were concealed at all, including behind a holster. I understand that this has caused confusion for many that would like to carry openly without a concealed carry permit. Supposedly carrying openly is legal in the State of Mississippi, but the confusing wording in the law raised questions as to whether it was legal to carry openly without a permit or not. I read about House Bill 2 being signed into law today and would like to know if it will have any impact on the current law which states:
Miss. Code Ann. § 97-37-1 (2011)
§ 97-37-1. Deadly weapons; carrying while concealed; use or attempt to use; penalties
(1) Except as otherwise provided in Section 45-9-101, any person who carries, concealed in whole or in part, any bowie knife, dirk knife, butcher knife, 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:
I would like to know if it is illegal in the State of Mississippi to openly carry a pistol on my side unconcealed and without a concealed carry permit. I have heard of some being arrested and prosecuted for a concealed weapon without a permit because of the way this law is written and I would not like to follow in their footsteps. If your new bill does not change what is quoted above, what can be done to re-write or fix this law to make it less confusing? I spent 10 years serving my country before I was honorably discharged and have no intention of breaking any laws. I have asked Mississippi DPS and the State AG with no real answer yet. They pass the buck and tell me that it is open to deliberation as to whether I could be arrested should I openly carry with no permit.
Mr. Pierce, your email is very timely.
Today the Governor signed House Bill 2, which I authored, which eliminates the language “in whole or in part.” Under this new law, effective July 1 concealed means concealed, and you don’t have to have a permit to carry in a holster in the open. After all, that’s what our Constitution provides for in Mississippi.