Last month, a Mississippi judge blocked a law expanding open carry policies that law enforcement officers warned would foster a “trigger-happy” population and increase crime. The judge held the law, though intended to define what constituted concealed carry, accomplished the opposite and was too vague.
But a unanimous Mississippi Supreme Court lifted that block Thursday. In a cursory ruling, it not only ended the injunction and allowed the law to go into effect, but also held no further trial or briefing was needed to turn a temporary ruling into a permanent one. It concluded, without explanation, that the law is not actually vague.
As ThinkProgress has documented, the Mississippi Supreme Court has been shaped by more than a million dollars in spending by a secretive group that is funded by the National Rifle Association (NRA). The group, the Law Enforcement Alliance of America, publicly opposes gun violence prevention measures such as background checks and keeping guns away from people on the federal government’s “Terrorist Watchlist.”
The law that will now go into effect suggests that weapons possessed out in the open do not require any state permit or licensing, but it has perpetuated some confusion. Some argued permitless open carry was implicitly already the law in Mississippi, but law enforcers say that was never their or the public’s understanding, and that this law will perpetuate new wreckless gun possession. “In all my years in law enforcement, I’ve never understood that it was legal in Mississippi for someone to walk down the street with a gun for everyone to see,” Moss Point Police Chief Keith Davis told Alabama Live. “They way I understand the law is that if you’re going to carry a weapon on your person, you must have a permit and it must be concealed,” Jackson County Sheriff Mike Byrd said of the state’s previous law. He called what has now become the law a “horrible bill” that will promote confusion and fear.