2015 Regular Session
To: Judiciary B
By: Representative Currie
AN ACT TO CREATE THE MISSISSIPPI SECOND AMENDMENT TASK FORCE; TO PROVIDE FOR THE MEMBERS OF THE TASK FORCE; TO PROVIDE DUTIES OF THE TASK FORCE; TO PROVIDE THAT THE TASK FORCE SHALL SUBMIT A REPORT OF ITS FINDINGS TO THE LEGISLATURE BY DECEMBER 31, 2015; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. (1) It is the intent of the Mississippi Legislature to protect and uphold the rights of its citizens to bear arms. The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution declares that "A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." Article 3, Section 12 of the Mississippi Constitution of 1890 declares:
"The right of every citizen to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person, or property, or in aid of the civil power when thereto legally summoned, shall not be called in question, but the Legislature may regulate or forbid carrying concealed weapons."
In recognition and appreciation of these principles, Mississippi enacted legislation that created Section 45-9-101, effective July 1, 1991, which provided for a set of laws regulating the carrying of concealed weapons through a Department of Public Safety licensing requirement. Pursuant to changes adopted to Section 97-37-7(2) effective July 1,2011, the Legislature approved a process whereby the holder of a concealed carry permit may receive instructional training and an endorsement on such permit to carry concealed weapons in most locations generally prohibited under Section 45-9-101(13).
Under House Bill 2, 2013 Regular Session, effective July 1, 2013, the Legislature defined the term "concealed" to mean hidden or obscured from common observation and shall not include any weapon listed in subsection (1) of this section, including, but not limited to, a loaded or unloaded pistol carried upon the person in a sheath, belt holster or shoulder holster that is wholly or partially visible, or carried upon the person in a scabbard or case for carrying the weapon that is wholly or partially visible. Thus, Mississippi law currently recognizes the rights of its citizens to keep and bear arms openly in a manner not hidden or obscured from common observation.
(2) (a) Recognizing the great importance to all citizens of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and the fundamental right to keep and bear arms, this Legislature determines that a comprehensive review, by a task force, is needed of Mississippi's laws regulating the carrying of concealed weapons.
(b) (i) There is hereby established the Mississippi Second Amendment Task Force to be charged with the responsibility of studying and preparing a detailed and comprehensive report including recommendations that in practice will best protect and expand the right to keep and bear arms of the citizens of the State of Mississippi toward the goal of protecting and promoting public safety. The task force shall be composed as follows:
1. The Speaker of the House of Representatives shall appoint two (2) members, one (1) of whom shall be a member of the Mississippi House of Representatives;
2. The Lieutenant Governor shall appoint two (2) members, one (1) of whom shall be a member of the Mississippi Senate;
3. The Governor shall appoint two (2) members;
4. The Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, or his designee;
5. The Attorney General shall appoint one (1) member who shall be an attorney in his office specializing in concealed carry laws;
6. The President of the Mississippi Prosecutors' Association, or his designee;
7. The President of the Mississippi Sheriffs' Association, or his designee;
8. The President of the Mississippi Police Chiefs Association, or his designee;
9. A representative of a nationally recognized organization that customarily offers firearms training to be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives;
10. A victim of a violent crime.
11. A certified Mississippi firearms instructor to be appointed by the Lieutenant Governor;
12. A Mississippi resident who is the holder of a concealed carry license and/or a concealed carry license with an approved instructional endorsement to be appointed by the Governor; and
13. Executive Director of the Mississippi State Veteran's Affairs Board, or his designee.
(ii) The task force shall study the following and provide a report of its findings to the Legislature by December 31, 2015:
1. Whether Mississippi's concealed carry laws should continue to regulate or forbid carrying concealed weapons by Mississippi citizens over the age of eighteen (18) years who are legally able to possess firearms under state and federal law;
2. Whether Mississippi's concealed carry laws should continue to require a state-issued license or permit for the carrying of concealed weapons;
3. What impact any changes to Mississippi's concealed carry laws may have on reciprocity and Mississippi citizens' ability to lawfully carry concealed in other states nationwide;
4. Whether Mississippi's concealed carry laws may be improved and/or clarified with respect to the list of prohibited locations set forth under Section 45-9-101(13) for holders of a concealed carry license and Section 97-37-7(2) for holders of a concealed carry license with an approved instructional endorsement;
5. Whether Mississippi's concealed carry laws should be improved and/or clarified with respect to persons who are not Mississippi citizens but who hold a recognized carry license in another state (or are otherwise qualified to carry in another state) including, but not limited to, whether such persons should be eligible to complete an approved instructional course and receive the instructional endorsement;
6. Best practices regarding instructional training in the safe handling and use of firearms required under Section 97-37-2(2)(a) for holders of a concealed carry license seeking an approved endorsement and whether accessibility to Mississippians of such training may be improved;
7. Whether Mississippi's concealed carry license system may otherwise be improved and/or streamlined to expand the rights of Mississippians to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Mississippi Constitution of 1890; and
8. The experiences of other states that have recently adopted significant changes to their statutes governing concealed carry.
(iii) The Task Force shall meet no later than May 1, 2015, and shall hold at least four (4) meetings. At its first meeting, the study committee shall elect a chair and adopt rules for transacting business and keeping records. All meetings of the Task Force will be open to the public and may provide opportunities for input from representatives of other private or public entities. Notice of all meetings shall be given as provided in the Open Meetings Act.
(iv) The task force shall be dissolved on January 1, 2016.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.