A controversial gun ban in Mississippi has been overturned by a judge, ending a two-month legal battle between gun rights advocates and the city’s Democratic mayor.
The city of Jackson cannot ban citizens from openly carrying firearms, which they are entitled to do under state law, even during times of emergencies.
Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba announced a ban on open-carry rights in the city on April 26 amid the coronavirus outbreak, the Clarion Ledger reported.
The mayor had also asked to have the ban of firearms made permanent, citing an increase in gun violence.
But Lumumba’s decision immediately drew a legal challenge from the citizens’ rights advocacy group the Mississippi Justice Institute on behalf of Republican state Rep. Dana Criswell, WAPT-TV reported.
“As a citizen of the great state of Mississippi who has regular business in our capital city of Jackson, I was shocked by the recent announcement by Mayor Lumumba,” Criswell said of the gun ban.
“I take the protection of myself and my family very seriously and believe deeply in the constitutional right to keep and bear arms. The mayor’s attempt to disarm me and deny me the ability of self-defense puts me and my family in danger anytime we are in Jackson,” the state representative added.
The Clarion Ledger reported Wednesday that U.S. District Judge Daniel P. Jordan III has sided with the MJI and Criswell by ruling that Lumumba did not have the authority to make the determination to supersede state law with the order limiting gun rights.
As part of Jordan’s decision, attorneys for Lumumba and the Jackson City Council must agree to sign a consent decree.
That decree will require the parties to refrain from attempting to restrict gun rights in the city, going forward.
“I am very glad to know that this will never happen again in the future. Mississippians should be able to protect themselves no matter what city they are in,” Criswell said in a media release.
Mississippi is a “constitutional carry state,” which gives citizens the right to carry open or concealed firearms without a permit as long as they refrain from carrying weapons in designated gun-free zones, such as schools or any place where government business is conducted.
The Mississippi Center for Public Policy, of which the MJI is a part, states on its website that its mission is to “advance the constitutional ideals of liberty and justice for all Mississippians by employing an evidenced-based approach to public policy whereby we advocate for and advance real conservative ideas with policy makers, members of the media, business leaders, the academic community, and private citizens.”
The group celebrated the win Wednesday.
“We are very happy with the outcome of this case,” MJI director Aaron Rice said on the group’s website.
“No mayor or other elected official in Jackson will ever again be able to act on their own to take away the right to openly carry a firearm in the city of Jackson, for any reason,” Rice added.
“We hope city officials can find a way to effectively address violent crime in Jackson, but they must do so in a way that respects the right of individuals to protect themselves.”
Source: Johnathan Jones, World Net Daily