How do we classify Mississippi now? In Mississippi, you do not need a license to carry a handgun openly. Under very liberal restrictions, you will not need a license to carry a handgun concealed. The new law goes into effect on 1 July, 2015, in two and a half months. From the NRA-ILA:
Late Thursday, Governor Phil Bryant (R) signed Senate Bill 2394, a bill prioritized for passage by Lt. Governor Tate Reeves and sponsored by Sen. Terry Burton (R), and Senate Bill 2619, sponsored by Sen. Haskins Montgomery (D), into law. These two measures make critical pro-Second Amendment reforms, including a clarification that a state-issued permit is not necessary to transport a loaded or unloaded pistol or revolver in a purse, handbag, satchel, other similar bag or briefcase or fully enclosed case.
I call this 90% constitutional carry because that is the effect. Want to carry a concealed handgun, and do not want to pay a tax to do it? Simple. Put your pistol in a purse or a camera case, a full flap holster, a tablet or cell phone type holster as shown in the Sneaky Pete holster above, put it in a backpack, fanny pack, gym bag, courier case, or just about anything else that “fully encloses” it, and you would be legal under the new law. I think a decent lawyer could make a good “case” that a full flap pocket would qualify.
It is hard to see how full constitutional carry reform would not pass the next session or two. The functional difference is so small as to be one of a few minutes preparation and intent.
Perhaps the next step would be to include virtually all holsters as meeting the definition of a “fully enclosed case” even if they are open topped inside the waist band types. One of the characteristics of armed criminals is an aversion to holsters of all types.
There are a couple of good reasons for this. First, holsters are usually attached to a belt, and are harder to get rid of in a hurry if the gun has to be disposed of. Second, they indicate a degree of foresight and preparation that most common criminals simply do not have. The requirement to carry a handgun in a holster, rather more securely than simply stuffed in a waist band, is not entirely unreasonable. Of the extremely rare accidents that occur with concealed carry permitees, a couple have been that of mini-revolvers dropping out of pockets and landing on their hammers. They are one of the very few designs left where that is possible, and then only if they are carried with the hammer resting on a cartridge primer, which should not be done.
So, do we call Mississippi a constitutional carry state, or not? I think we should go with the ‘preponderance of the evidence’ and call it constitutional carry. It will not be too hard to design an under the shirt holster that will meet the definition in the law. If you insist on tucking the handgun into your waistband, put it inside a shopping bag first. That would be a bit slower on the draw, but would appear to meet the legal requirement. If you want pocket carry without a permit, I recommend a cloth or leather case that encloses the pistol, the top of which snaps to each side of the pocket. Then you can access the pistol as easily as you could from a pocket, with the added advantage of more protection for the pocket and the pistol.
Pistol packers in the old west often reinforced their pockets with light leather. This would be a variation.
There are some other features in the new law as well. Concealed carry permit fees are cut in half, from $100 to $80. Active duty members of the Armed Forces of the U.S. will be exempt from the fees. The renewal fee is cut to $40, again, exempting retired LEOs, disabled vets and active duty members of the Armed Forces. Mississippi residents 65 or older have their renewal fee cut to $20.
It appears to me that with the addition of Kansas and Mississippi, the constitutional carry states have just jumped from five to seven.
©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.