#MSLeg: Guns in the courthouse? A bill could provide clarity

#MSLeg: Guns in the courthouse? A bill could provide clarity

Gun Rights

Two citizens outside the Chancery Court building give their opinion on whether guns should be allowed in courthouses. Jimmie E. Gates The state Supreme Court ruled last year that judges can’t prohibit a person with an enhanced carry permit from bringing a gun into a courthouse under current law. But the state’s high court ruled judges could ban weapons from their courtrooms. Firearms instructor and gun-rights advocate Rick Ward filed the appeal to the Supreme Court after he said he was denied the right to carry his gun into courthouses in the 14th Chancery District despite having an enhanced permit. Now, House Bill 158, filed by House Judiciary B Chairwoman Angela Cockerham, D-Magnolia, seeks to clarify that a courtroom also includes the judge’s chamber, jury room and witness room. Hinds County Courthouse (Photo: File photo/The Clarion-Ledger) In 2011, the Mississippi Legislature passed a law that allows those with enhanced carry permits who have voluntarily completed a safe handling and use of firearms course to carry their weapons inside a courthouse, but not inside a courtroom. The new bill says "courtroom" means the actual room in which a judicial proceeding occurs, including any jury room, witness room, judge’s chamber, office housing the judge’s staff, or similar room. But it says a "courtroom" doesn’t mean hallways, courtroom entrances, courthouse grounds, lobbies, corridors, or other areas within a courthouse which are generally open to the public for the transaction of business outside of an active judicial proceeding. This also includes the grassed […]

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