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Mississippi high court upholds open carry law

The Mississippi Supreme Court [official website] on Thursday unanimously upheld Mississippi's House Bill 2 [text], which stipulates that gun owners do not need a special permit to carry a gun in a holster or carrying case, so long as it is at least partially visible. Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant [official website] signed the bill into law [Meridian Star report] in March, and it was set to take effect in July. However, Circuit Court Judge Winston Kidd issued an injunction [AP report] in June, ruling that the law was unconstitutionally vague and that an injunction was needed "to prevent irreparable harm." The Mississippi Supreme Court overruled the judgment [AP report], allowing the law to finally take effect, stating that the lower court erred when he stated that a "reasonable person reading the bill could not discern what the law allows and what it prohibits." Even with the open carry law to take effect, previous laws banning guns on schools and college campuses, and in government and other public buildings, are still in effect.

The lifting of the injunction on House Bill 2 is the latest development in the national gun control debate. In August Illinois Governor Pat Quinn [official website] signed a gun safety bill into law [JURIST report] requiring background checks for all gun purchases in the state as well as the reporting of all lost and stolen guns. In May several groups filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a new Connecticut gun control law expanding the definition of "assault weapons," which are banned under existing state law. Earlier that month US Attorney General Eric Holder [official website] warned [JURIST report] Kansas that a recently enacted law intended to block enforcement of federal gun regulations was unconstitutional. In March a Kansas legislative committee approved a bill that would allow the open carry [JURIST report] and transport of firearms around the state.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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