Can I "open carry" in Mississippi?


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grndslm
August 14, 2009, 12:26 PM
I just ran across a thread from a lil' while ago, where a MS cop was asking THR what the MS laws on open carry are. There is no specific law, but the MS Supreme Court said that if it's in a holster, it's concealed, so you need a CCW permit.

Well... what if I had a gun belt clip? I'm assuming this is open carry, right? You can see 100% of the gun. However, somebody else in that thread mentioned that they believed if the gun was hanging by a string... that it was partially concealed. I'm assuming this isn't the case with a belt clip as it looks like the gun is levitating on your hip, completely visible & open, which there is apparently no law against.

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chbrow10
August 14, 2009, 12:42 PM
while that might get you past the law, that doesn't seem to be the most secure way to carry. MS is a shall issue state (if you are a resident), so I'd rather get the CCW and a retention holster, but that's just me.

Are you traveling through or working here temporarily?

razorback2003
August 14, 2009, 01:24 PM
You cannot generally open carry outside of your vehicle, UNLESS you have a license. You can if you are saying going hunting, fishing, shooting...outdoor type activities. You can also conceal it without a license when doing outdoor activities. You can conceal or open carry in your car. I THINK Mississippi has some law where if you are 'traveling' or on a 'journey' you can conceal....you might want to check...it seems to be an old law.

The problem with Mississippi is the law states that you cannot conceal in whole OR in part a weapon...well the holster is concealing the handgun in part even if it is what we would consider open carry. Stupid law yes but that is the law there. I live in the Memphis area...live in TN but frequent Olive branch and Southaven a lot. If you truly want to open carry in MS, get a license. You don't want to be a test case for this 'conceal in whole or part' garbage. There was already a court case that said the holster conceals in part. Licenses in MS are easy to get...no class...just fingerprinting and wait for it to come back....plus down there they substitute as background checks when buying guns from dealers. I think they're only 100 bucks for four years....well worth your money.

grndslm
August 14, 2009, 05:24 PM
Are you traveling through or working here temporarily?I live in MS.

Sure I could get a CCW permit, but I'd have to renew that every 4 years. If I live to be 104, that's $2,000 I just wasted, giving to the government. As I understand it, I have a Constitutional right (both U.S. & state) to bear arms in order to protect myself, which means I wouldn't have to ask permission from the Government.

If using a belt clip means I'll be free and clear in the state of MS, then by God... I will use a belt clip. I'd prefer to carry in a holster of course, but then I'd just get harassed by cops, be told I need a CCW, and possibly be arrested. If I'm using a belt clip, and the gun is truly not concealed, according to the MS Supremes... then I'd LOVE for them to arrest me. I like to find the limits of systems, especially the Government.

What kind of life is it to do what you're told, when what you're being told is WRONG?

EDIT: Reminds me of my new favorite quote: "It's better to die on your feet than live on your knees."

45crittergitter
August 16, 2009, 10:26 PM
The way I read the statute, technically you cannot open carry a pistol or revolver most places in MS with or without a permit.

Mississippi Code 45-8-101 (18) [that's the ccw permit statute] states in part: "Further, nothing in this section shall be construed to allow the open and unconcealed carrying of any deadly weapon as described in Section 97-37-1, Mississippi Code of 1972."

However, it is my belief that generally law enforcement won't bother you if you have a permit and you're not doing anything else illegal or stupid.

grndslm
August 16, 2009, 10:45 PM
"Further, nothing in this section shall be construed to allow the open and unconcealed carrying of any deadly weapon as described in Section 97-37-1, Mississippi Code of 1972."

That is just a comment full of hot air. It could also continue on like this... "And even further, nothing in this section shall be construed to deny the open and unconcealed carrying of any deadly weapon as described in Section 97-37-1."

Nothing was construed either way, soo....

P.S. - I'm sure some of you may hate my nit-picking, but that's what lawyers do -- find ways to circumvent the law.

45crittergitter
September 4, 2009, 09:56 PM
I'm not sure any current statutory law can be fairly termed "a comment full of hot air," whether silly or not. The MS code generally prohibits carrying concealed in whole or in part without a permit. Case law includes holsters, fingers, etc. as being concealed in part. My belief is that that the quoted open carry phrase, which is included in the CCW permit section of the code, is intended to mean that one can carry fully concealed with a permit, but cannot open carry with a permit, as that phrase is intended to restrict the permitted action to fully concealed carry. Just my unprofessional opinion - I would love to hear from a MS attorney.

Airpark
September 4, 2009, 10:11 PM
Simple.

One part of the section speaks to OPEN carry in the general public and the other part speaks to OPEN carry in your domicile, vehicle, etc.

That is not rocket science to figure that out.

grndslm
September 4, 2009, 10:29 PM
Actually, it is rocket science to understand law. Let's break it down...

First of all, you are legally allowed to carry a concealed weapon (without a permit) as long as you are on your way to or from a "legitimate" sporting activity. So if you have fishing line & tackle or targets to shoot at... you're not breaking the law.

As for open carry, which is what I asked about... 99% of the time, according to the MS Supremes, they'll consider your open carry concealed because there's something obstructing it "in part", such as a holster or finger. But if nothing's obstructing it, and it's just levitating in front of your pocket by a belt clip... it's not concealed whatsoever, is it?

Then you go back to that statutory code, which, I'm sorry to inform you, *is* full of hot air: "Further, nothing in this section shall be construed to allow the open and unconcealed carrying of any deadly weapon as described in Section 97-37-1, Mississippi Code of 1972." That statement doesn't mean anything. It simply neither allows, NOR DENIES the use of open carry... which means it says nothing. The Supreme Court ruling says something, in that partial concealment, even a finger is concealment... but a belt clip is uncharted territory.

The question is whether you're crazy enough to actually test the lawfulness of a belt clip around a cop. Most people aren't that crazy, but I am. I get a kick out of fighting for a cause, because I'm a rebel (this is Mississippi, ya know :) )... and you only get one life. My life's already full of stories of things I've fought for, and by golly... those stories aren't gonna stop anytime soon.

Airpark
September 4, 2009, 11:35 PM
I am a bit afraid that you headed into a situation where your cell number will have NOTHING to do with a phone.

grndslm
September 4, 2009, 11:52 PM
Doubtful. I won't be harming anyone, harming anyone's property, or committing fraud... so I won't be breaking any laws.

If a belt clip is what it takes to be 100% "open" so that I'm 100% legal... then what's the problem? What law have I broken? The correct answer is none.

NoAlibi
September 5, 2009, 04:20 AM
grndslm:
If I live to be 104, that's $2,000 I just wasted, giving to the government.

First, I wish you success in getting to 104 years-of-age!

How much do you think legal fees will amount to in defending you? It seems like a "Pay me now or pay me later." thing. A little bit of money, comparitively, every 4 years with a known result, might be a whole lot better than paying a lot of money up front (lawyer's fees) without a guaranteed result.

Why don't you write to the Mississippi State Attorney General and ask for an opinion about your belt clip idea so you'll know what you might be dealing with?

grndslm
September 5, 2009, 04:37 AM
Heh... Thanks for the wish. I'm 24 now, and I'll be extremely surprised if civilization makes it so that I live to be 44, honestly. The rate that we consume is not sustainable, and nobody wants to change... so I live for today.

I also don't believe in lawyers. They don't do anything that I can't do. I can ask just as st00pit questions as they can do, which I've already done in my previous posts. If the MS Supremes have ruled that a holster and finger covering the gun yield a concealed weapon, and an open carry weapon hasn't been deemed illegal... I'm doing nothing illegal, therefore, I'm committing no crime.

I don't have a belt clip now, and I'm not sure if the Bersa I have now would even handle a belt clip... so no point in me asking the AG about the belt clip idea. Tho, I doubt I'd get a serious and direct response to my question anyway. People don't take my shocking & unexpected questions seriously until I'm in their face... shocking them unexpectedly. People are st00pit, and I hardly ever get a correct answer when it comes to something this borderline crazy... they'd rather just feed me some B.S. and send me on my way, like any typical sheep. I'm not a sheep, tho... and I live for myself, for the experience. It's no problem for me to deal with a cop, some inmates, a judge, etc.... just adds to the experience. That's something I consider fun (watching jaws drop as I show people something they've never seen before). Who knows... maybe my case would set precedent for the state and I would be on the news. Life's a garden, man... DIG IT!

45crittergitter
September 13, 2009, 08:57 PM
Then you go back to that statutory code, which, I'm sorry to inform you, *is* full of hot air: "Further, nothing in this section shall be construed to allow the open and unconcealed carrying of any deadly weapon as described in Section 97-37-1, Mississippi Code of 1972." That statement doesn't mean anything. It simply neither allows, NOR DENIES the use of open carry... which means it says nothing.

I disagree. It is true that the statement, which is in the CCW permit statute, does not allow open carry. That is it's intent. Therefore, open carry is illegal, as the weapons (not permit) statute generally prohibits all carry (partially concealed) without a permit. The subject statement then, means that with a permit, "open" (partially concealed) carry is still not allowed - only truly concealed is allowed with a permit. The clause has both purpose and meaning.

NavyLCDR
September 14, 2009, 02:50 AM
Open carry in Mississippi is legal with a license:

http://www.opencarry.org/ms.html

Summary
Mississippi is an open carry state and the state constitution appears to guarantee this right. Further, localities are generally preempted under state law from enacting local gun control ordnances that might restrict open carry. However, Miss. Code 97-37-1 & 45-9-101 operate together to ban carriage of a handgun "concealed in whole or in part" unless the carrier is inside a motor vehicle or possesses a License to Carry a Concealed Pistol or Revolver. As the Mississippi courts have said that a handgun in a holster is concealed in part, a License to Carry a Concealed Pistol or Revolver is required to openly carry a handgun in a holster in Mississippi.

Mr.Davis
September 14, 2009, 09:28 PM
grndslm,

Your attitude of disrespect for the law will almost certainly lead you to lose your right to your firearms, and likely your freedom as well. This may not be the issue that does it, but I'm shocked that you're promoting such a cavalier attitude towards pushing the limits of the law, considering what's at risk.

If you don't like the law, work though our system to change it. Don't respond by complaining that the system is broken - it's worked for hundreds of years. Don't give gun owners a bad name by testing the police and AG's willingness to do their jobs.

razorback2003
September 15, 2009, 12:04 AM
I live very close to the Mississippi line in Tennessee so I travel there frequently. If you do decide to carry without a license outside your vehicle (you can carry a handgun in your car in MS without a license loaded) and are not say hunting, fishing, targeting shooting, and so on, you can be charged with a misdemeanor and fined. You will not permanently lose your rights to own guns, but you will probably have to go to court, may lose your gun, and probably have to pay a few hundred dollar fine. Remember that if you are working a job, courts meet during normal working hours for the most part...so you'll have to use vacation time to go to court....wasted time=wasted money....and there is a good chance a cop may ask to see a license if you decide to openly carry in say Olive Branch or Southaven...no license=court date. Mississippi licenses are so easy to get why not? It is a matter of filling out paperwork...getting fingerprinted and paying a hundred bucks for a four year license down there. You don't even have to take a class like people in Tennessee on top of the fingerprinting and application junk and paying for the class....PLUS you guys in MS can use your handgun license as a substitute for a background check when buying from a gun dealer in MS....we can't use our handgun carry permit as a background check substitute in TN. I'd pay the 100 bucks alone just for that. The law as it stands in MS is a holster partially conceals the handgun....so work at getting your legislators to change the law to FULLY conceal...until then pay 100 bucks for a license if you like to openly carry in public....if you don't you'll quickly pay a few hundred dollar fine and will either have to buy your gun back from a police auction or buy a new gun on top of your fine.

45crittergitter
September 22, 2009, 10:05 PM
Open carry in Mississippi is legal with a license:

http://www.opencarry.org/ms.html

This is one side of the legal argument, but we do not know if the person from whom it originates has accurate information or enough legal acumen to support the position.

I am gathering MS AG opinions on the issue, which do not seem to help much in either direction. More later, I hope.

Frank Ettin
September 22, 2009, 11:20 PM
grndslm, you apparently think you have it all figured out for yourself. So go and do whatever it is you want to do. You seem to think it's okay, even if others may not.

45crittergitter
October 11, 2009, 01:42 PM
I have now discussed this with a couple of MS attorney friends, and collected all of the AG's opinions we could find.

One attorney is a county prosecutor and a gun guy. He says it appears that the statute allows open carry with a CCW license, due to the "logic" of the "concealed in whole or in part" definition, and thus "open carry" equals "concealed in part," and is therefore legal with the license. However, he agrees that it's not very clear and most likely will not be resolved at the cop level.

The other attorney is also a gun guy (Class 3 dealer), and is a former Special Assistant Attorney General who assisted in writing the statute in question. He agrees that it is very poorly written, and agrees that it appears to prohibit open carry, even with a CCW license.

The AG's opinions were simply not helpful, and did not answer the question asked, but did appear to me to lean toward open carry (concealed in part) being legal with a license (or legal without a license, if the weapon is considered not concealed at all).

chuckusaret
October 12, 2009, 12:29 AM
grndslm, do you smoke?, if so what brand. I was recently in Biloxi on vacation, my home town, and I am positive that if you open carry a weapon even with a permit you will be arrested no matter how vague the law is.

BBQLS1
October 12, 2009, 10:07 AM
grndslm,

Your attitude of disrespect for the law will almost certainly lead you to lose your right to your firearms, and likely your freedom as well. This may not be the issue that does it, but I'm shocked that you're promoting such a cavalier attitude towards pushing the limits of the law, considering what's at risk.

If you don't like the law, work though our system to change it. Don't respond by complaining that the system is broken - it's worked for hundreds of years. Don't give gun owners a bad name by testing the police and AG's willingness to do their jobs.

Excellent post, I highlighted the most important parts.

razorback2003
October 12, 2009, 07:03 PM
I live outside of Memphis in another town on the Tennessee side of the TN/MS state line. It is the concealed in whole OR in part that will get you busted for the misdemeanor carrying a concealed weapon in Mississippi when you decide to carry in a belt holster openly w/o a license. The holster partially conceals. You do not want to carry in a belt holster in public in Mississippi w/o a license, unless under certain limited circumstances, such as going to and from hunting, target shooting, fishing or while doing such things. You can carry openly or concealed in your car.

I believe first offense in MS for concealed weapons violation is max $500 fine misdemeanor and you could technically get a little time in the county jail and lose your gun...I doubt you'd get time in the county jail with a clean record but you can count on a fine and possibly your gun going to auction. Mississippi licenses are only $100....pay the money and get the license if you wish to carry a handgun in MS in public...it is much cheaper than carrying in the open without one...getting a criminal charge..paying a fine..losing your gun...losing time from work to appear in court....you won't lose your right to own a gun over a misdemeanor but you will be hassled.

DammitBoy
October 12, 2009, 07:26 PM
This issue usually gets resolved at the cop on the street level in Mississippi.

I have a concealed carry permit. I also have an extra side job (part-time) as a security guard working for a buddy of mine. I have a route I do mon-fri from 6pm - 10pm as an armed patrol officer.

I have had numerous interactions with the local police force, the local sheriff deputies, the national guard and even a couple of state troopers. Usually dealing with a vagrant or a trespassing charge or a breaking&entering situation. We call the local police when these situations occur.

I've been doing this for three years now, on the side. I wear a golf pullover style shirt with the security companies logo on front and back. I wear a provided company security badge with an assigned serial number. I wear my para-ordinance P14 in a bianchi belt holster rig - open carry, in plain sight. I'm also wearing bluejeans and workboots, so I'm not all 'uniformed' up like your typical Barney Fife wannabe.

Not once, ever, have I been asked to provide documentation proving I have a concealed carry permit. Not once have I been hassled about open carry.

In addition, during Katrina, I wore my sidearm open carry every where I went, including shopping and to volunteer to distribute ice to refugees, in plain street clothes, no badge or security shirt.

I also used to load atm's as a part-time gig for a buddy who owned a bunch of them at little stores around the countryside. I routinely wore my side arm open carry when I was loading the atms.

The law here as written is very confusing and vague and imho, I believe that law enforcement generally ignore it altogether.

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