Last week, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) signed a bill into law that allows unlicensed “Constitutional Carry” in the state. The measure, House Bill 786 (HB786), was originally introduced as a church security bill to allow those with a concealed carry permit to have a firearm in church. The law goes into effect immediately.
It was passed in the House by a vote of 85-33 and in the Senate by a 36-14 vote, despite months of misleading attacks by out-of-state gun control groups funded by the former mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg.
“We beat Bloomberg!” said Elaine Vechorik, vice president of Mississippi for Liberty, a group that promotes liberty in the state through the legislative and election processes.
Michele Byington, an Independent Program Attorney for U.S. Law Shield, said, “It’s a great day for law-abiding gun owners in Mississippi. This will allow them to carry firearms for personal protection in the manner that best suits their needs.”
Byington said House Bill 786 will have wide-ranging effects. The law will:
Expand current permitless-carry options to include belt and shoulder holsters.
Allow church authorities to develop security programs that designate enhanced-carry permit holders or those with military or law-enforcement backgrounds to protect places of worship.
“In addition,” Byington said, “the new law will extend the benefits of existing protections under the state’s ‘Castle Doctrine’ law to church protectors.”
More broadly, the NRA said in a statement that House Bill 786 prohibits state or local enforcement of federal executive orders or agency regulations not approved by Congress, or if they conflict with the United States or Mississippi Constitutions.
“Mississippi has a strong pro-Second Amendment culture, and this new law strengthens that,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director, National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA).
Attorney Byington pointed out that gunowner liberty is expanding fast. She said that permitless carry takes effect in West Virginia in June followed by Idaho in July. Those states join Alaska, Arizona, Kansas, Maine, Montana, Vermont, and Wyoming as the other jurisdictions that recognize the Second Amendment as a sufficient carry permit.