Judge says Mississippi city cannot override state open carry law

Published 7:25 am Thursday, June 18, 2020

A federal judge ruled Mississippi’s capital city cannot restrict the state’s open carry law as it did following the shooting deaths of two children during the coronavirus pandemic.

A consent decree between the city of Jackson, Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba and state Rep. Dana Criswell was filed Friday.

Lumumba had issued an executive order in April temporarily banning the open carry of firearms in Jackson during a coronavirus stay-at-home order for the city, citing a state statute allowing him to enforce safety rules during a public emergency. Criswell, a Republican, challenged the ban in court.

State law allows people 18 or older who are legally allowed to possess a gun to carry it, with restrictions, such as not being engaged in criminal activity. The consent decree says the mayor and the city can’t restrict open carry unless the state or constitutional law is changed first to allow it.

“I am very glad to know that this will never happen again in the future, ” Criswell said in a statement.

Lumumba had said in a video announcing the ban that the open carry law contributed to increased gun violence in the city and played a role in the children’s deaths.

He said the children died due to “senseless gun violence,” but did not go into details. He allowed the executive order to expire at the end of the stay-at-home order at the end of April, the Clarion Ledger reported.