What is a “constitutional carry” state?

| Aug 1, 2020 | Firm News |

Mississippi, one of the most gun-friendly states in the nation, was the ninth to sign into law “constitutional carry,” meaning that — with some restrictions — anyone who can legally possess a firearm in the state can legally carry that firearm.

This by no means removes all restrictions on owning, carrying or using a firearm in Mississippi. As the ATF reports in its compilation of state weapons laws, gun crimes can come with felonies and jail time, and federal law still applies. It is highly advisable to learn the law before acquiring a firearm.

Constitutional carry

The name “constitutional carry” is a nod to the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution, which gives the right to keep and bear arms. Mississippi, among other states, also recognizes this as a right in the state constitution.

There is no state requirement to register firearms, no permit requirement to purchase firearms and no permit requirement to carry a gun (however, you may get a permit for additional benefits such as civil liability protections). While the state does have a minimum age for gun ownership, it makes ample allowances for minors to own and use guns in certain cases.

This does not mean that you may carry anywhere. Private businesses can restrict carrying a firearm onto the premises, as can homeowners or occupants. You also may not carry into sports events, schools, police stations, bars or churches, among a few other places.

Restrictions and consequences

In addition to where you may carry, there are many other restrictions to firearm possession and carrying in Mississippi, and violating them can bring severe penalties. Most importantly, federal gun laws and restrictions do still apply within state borders.

Felons and those with a documented history of mental illness may not own or carry firearms in Mississippi. These individuals may, however, petition a court to return their right to bear arms after serving all sentences, but only if they have substantial evidence of reform or recovery.

Possessing or using a gun in combination with illegal drugs or controlled substances doubles sentences in Mississippi.

There are also many weapons and accessories that are illegal in the state, including defaced firearms, machine guns and silencers, among others. A conviction of possessing these can be a felony and will almost certainly result in severe sentencing.