Friday, June 8, 2018

Court: Concealed-Carry OK in Courthouse

The Mississippi Supreme Court ruled that enhanced-carry concealed weapon permit holders can carry concealed weapons in courthouses.  However, the Court said that judges could still ban them from carrying weapons in the courtroom.

The legislature passed enhanced carry permit legislation in 2011 (Section 97-37-7 of the Mississippi Code).  The new statute expressly stated that a "trial judge" had the right to ban firearms in the "courtroom."  Three Chancellors in the 14th District banned the carry of firearms by enhanced-permit holders in the courthouses of the district.

Rick Ward is a well-known gun rights activist in Mississippi as well as an enhanced-carry permit holder.  He asked the Chancellors to modify or rescind the order but to no avail.  Mr. Ward appealed to the Mississippi Supreme Court for relief.

The Supremes took a look at the order and ordered it stricken as a blight upon the land.    The opinion states that the order is unconstitutional.  The Mississippi Constitution gives the "legislature" the right to "regulate or forbid carrying concealed weapons."  Thus the judicial branch has no right to impose its own restrictions on the carry of firearms unless the legislature gives it the power to do so.    The Court went further and said the judges did not have the "inherent power" to dictate security beyond their courtrooms.    The orders also defied the Mississippi Code.  Section 97-37-7(2) states:

A person licensed under Section 45-9-101 to carry a concealed pistol, who has voluntarily completed an instructional course in the safe handling and use of firearms offered by an instructor certified by a nationally recognized organization that customarily offers firearms training, or by any other organization approved by the Department of Public Safety, shall also be authorized to carry weapons in courthouses except in courtrooms during a judicial proceeding,
 The Court recognized the concerns the Chancellors had for courthouse safety but said such fears do not "trump" the Constitution nor the Mississippi Code.    The Mississippi Supreme Court blasted the Chancellors with both barrels in the final paragraph:

Judges cannot allow their sense of superior knowledge, perceptions, or understandings to justify open defiance of the very laws that they are called upon to uphold. Indeed, we have held repeatedly that courts are guardians of the Constitution, not guardians of the courthouse. Without question, the orders defy existing law and seek to exercise a power that plainly is reserved for the other branches of government. The orders contain no authority to suggest otherwise. The law of Mississippi is clear: enhanced-carry licensees are permitted topossess a firearm in courthouses. No matter how well-intentioned, judges are without the power tolimit enhanced concealed-carry licensees’ right to carry a firearm beyond courtrooms in the State of Mississippi. The orders are vacated.

And that, my friends, is the bottom line.


46 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness for Rick Ward. He has led the fight to keep these judges from clearly overstepping their authority. Keep up the fight Rick!

Anonymous said...

I'm all for protecting our right to carry and bear arms but why would you want to carry a weapon in to a court house? There are armed and trained law enforcement offices inside the court house to protect you, the judges and staff inside the court house. With a citizen carrying a weapon in to the a court house, no matter how up standing or innocent they are, they could be mistaken as bad and shot.

Anonymous said...

If Rick Ward is reading this (we hope) then now you can take the issue on regarding the Institute for Higher Learning (IHL) over colleges and universities. Apparently they believe they have more power than these judges!

Anonymous said...

Depending where you go, courthouses have many offices that aren’t related to “court” nor is there armed security. This case was about judicial overreach more than the actual guns.

Anonymous said...

Forgive them, "for they knew not, what they were doing".
Now how will the legislature quietly fix this?

Anonymous said...

650, it's because some folks want to prove the point that they can. No good reason but don't think 'the gubmint' should be able to tell them what you can or can't do.

Anonymous said...

6:50 AM - It is better to carry in a courthouse, which typically isn't just a courthouse but also contains other government offices, because it is usually a bad idea to leave a weapon in a locked vehicle where it can be stolen.

But the bigger reasons are: the law allows it, as does the SECOND AMENDMENT. SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED.

Anonymous said...

Another seeming crisis that ends in a whimper.

Anonymous said...

So, really?

It's safer to control one room in a building than to control the building?

Cartels, gangs and terrorists must be thrilled!

There just really isn't any common sense anymore especially in our legislature .They don't write bills with an eye to legal language used or the consequences, but rather let special interests and any zealot with a following do it for them.

Rick, please , oh please file a suit to carry a concealed weapon into the State House and Senate.










Anonymous said...

6:50 can't be serious.

Anonymous said...

Good...let the licensed killings begin

Anonymous said...

"There are armed and trained law enforcement offices inside the court house to protect you..." and "With a citizen carrying a weapon in to the a court house, no matter how up standing or innocent they are, they could be mistaken as bad and shot."

Isn't this contradictory??? And yo answer your question "why would you want to carry a weapon in to a court house?" I don't like leaving loaded weapons in vehicles where they could easily be stolen.

Anonymous said...

I've seen plenty of people get pissed off at clerk's because of taxes and car tags. Mad enough to have the cops escort them off the property. People at the chancery clerk's office pissed because of land deeds and someone having them committed. Courthouses are time bombs besides courtrooms. I hope I'm not there when it goes off.

Anonymous said...

Ex-Madison County employee Butch Hammack says that nothing bad can happen when you carry a firearm in the courthouse.

Anonymous said...

Don't like it? Tell the legislators to change the law. That's really all the MS Supreme Court is saying here.

If you're against this (or any law), then use the process that's in place. Convincing 1-5 judges/justices of your position vs. convincing half +1 of the House, half +1 of the Senate, and the Governor is certainly more convenient for opponents of any current law, but that convenience doesn't supersede the political process.

Earl Warren got a bunch of y'all wound up 50 years ago and y'all still haven't come down.

Anonymous said...

What could possibly go wrong with a bunch of angry people carrying guns outside the courtroom door after calling each other lying cheating scumbags on the stand?

Anonymous said...



Seems to me most bad stuff happens in the gun free zones.

See "Chicago, DC, liberal run cities" for further reference.

Anonymous said...

Exactly 7:42. SHALL. NOT. BE. INFRINGED! Unless, you’re a convicted felon. Or trying to get into the MS House. Or Governor’s Mansion. Or Supreme Court. Or Congress. Or any police station or sheriff’s office. Or you’ve been dishonorably discharged. Or out on bond even though you haven’t been convicted of anything. Or have a domestic violence conviction.

But you’re exactly right! Other than the above listed reasons and hundreds of other unlisted examples, it SHALL. NOT. BE. INFRINGED.

Anonymous said...

All these wannabe Paul Kerseys looking for the opportunity to be big heroes will likely result in a great deal of collateral damage and innocent people being killed and wounded while accomplishing nothing worthwhile. Mississippi's gun nuts consider having an enhanced concealed carry permit as proof that anyone they shoot had it coming. And I guess if 2 concealed carry holders have a gun fight the winner will be presumed to have made a 'justifiable shoot.'

"Civilized" communities outlawed carrying firearms on the streets 150 years ago but civilization is apparently on the decline.

Anonymous said...

One takeaway from this that many of you all are missing. The Mississippi Constitution is more restrictive than its federal counterpart in that our constitution provides that the legislature can regulate concealed carrying by virtue of the constitutional provision.

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.

Anonymous said...

IMHO, this is a horrible decision. I'd like to hear from our state court judges who are on the front line and in the direct line of fire every day in lunacy hearings, bitter divorce/custody cases, murder and other violent criminal prosecutions, and nasty probate and contractual disputes, among other things. Did the Supremes include themselves in this expansive concept of 2nd Amendment rights?

Anonymous said...

Can get in with a gun, but try getting in with a phone, iPad or Apple Watch. Maybe they can amend the law to address that as well.

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to the day when black activists test this. This all sounds high and mighty, but just wait for the uproar when 20 crips walk into the courthouse armed to the eyeballs and carrying their advanced carry card. And they just walk around. Let's see how quickly the tea party defends them.

From My Cold Dead Fingers said...

9:55 AM, get a grip on reality or move to the People's Republik of Kalifornia, comrade.

Anonymous said...

What about carrying into the Supreme Court courthouse. My understanding is guns are not allowed in that building. Is there a separate law particularly for them? I am too lazy to look and see.

Anonymous said...

As an attorney who practices mainly in Chancery Court where all sorts of dirty laundry gets aired and emotions are already at a high point, this ruling greatly concerns me and many others who regularly practice in Chancery Court. The courthouse WAS a safe-zone. Now, no longer. This not only endangers litigants, judges and attorneys, but it also puts more emphasis on the bailiffs and sheriff's deputies for keeping things safe.

And if you question the amount of tension, animosity and outright rage that occurs on a daily basis in Chancery Court, please avail yourself of the opportunity to go watch for a day to see what the Chancellors have to deal with.

I love my constitutional rights and I am a HUGE supporter of the 2nd Amendment. But I'm not a fan of this decision.

For everyone who wishes to disagree with me. . .GO!

From My Cold Dead Fingers said...

Counselor @ 11:08 AM, the majority of the courthouses in the state have not had any restrictions, other than the statutory restriction of no courtroom carry.

This decision only directly impacts those handful of courthouses where the presiding judge exceeded his authority.

"Gun Free Zones" are only recognized by law abiding citizens.

Anonymous said...

@6:50 because I can get robbed or mugged in between walking from my car to the courthouse entrance

Anonymous said...

@8:59 guns are still banned inside courtrooms

Anonymous said...

"IF THE SECOND AMEMDMENT SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED" nut jobs really believed all that crap, they would be jumping up and down that the legislature decided the second amendment could be infringed inside the courtroom.

There goes Andy Gipson taking away your second amendment rights.

Anonymous said...

We have had guns in this country since Columbus. In fact, there are far fewer households with guns now than ever before in the US, so I'm not sure why guns are now the focus. We all argue back and forth about guns but the real issues are mental health, our criminal justice system, education, and income. If you start a "war on guns", it's going to cost more and be less successful than the "war on drugs". So many pages of comments but, until we focus on the problems, we're probably not going to come up with any solutions.

Anonymous said...

Fake News!

Anonymous said...

So judges can ban cellphones from any portion of a courthouse(and some do) but cant stop you front getting pass security with your pistol as long as you stand in the hall while court is going on and dont actually enter the courtroom. Makes perfect sense to me said no reasonable person ever.

Kingfish said...

There are no statutes expressly written to allow cellphones in such places is the reason for the difference.

Anonymous said...

10:48, these all must be rookie crips if they were able to pass the background check for the concealed carry permit, I assume?

Anonymous said...

You can forget about me showing up for jury duty. Much less serving on one again.

Anonymous said...

All kinds of Nuts have a CC Permit.

Anonymous said...

KF, not exactly, my friend. The MSSC ruling restricted the Judges from enacting rules on the entire courthouse, not just the courtroom. This would apply to the stupid rules that many Judges (look first to Madison County) where a Judge has ruled that one cannot carry anything - a gun, a laptop, an Ipad, a cell phone, a purse, a briefcase - anything into the building. Not even to go work in the Circuit Clerk's office. Of course, the rule does not apply to the honorable members of the bar, or the other 99% of the bar that might not fit that adjective.

Its not a 2nd amendment ruling as you try to respond, because if it was, the rule could not apply to a courtroom. Its a ruling that defines a judge's jurisdiction - a courtroom while it is in use as a courtroom.

In Hinds Chancery, you can carry a cell phone onto the 2nd floor, but not on the 3rd floor where the Chancellor's offices are located. Unless, of course, you are an attorney. Last time I checked, passing the bar didn't entitle you to special privileges when trying to access one's government.

Anonymous said...

You guys may or may not be interested, and certainly you have every right to disagree with me, but this is the take I posted on Facebook yesterday:


The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the constitutionality of a bill I authored in 2011 to allow enhanced permit holders to carry concealed firearms into court houses. The amendment (see below), co-sponsored by Reps. Gunn and Formby, passed on a voice vote at a time when the Democrats still held a majority in the House. As you can see, the amendment (my handwriting) expressly exempts “courtrooms” but NOT “court houses.” If we had meant “court houses,” we would have said so. Regardless of what you think about guns, if you value the Constitution and the law, our Supreme Court got it right. https://on.thec-l.com/2LyXc9m

Rep. Greg Snowden
Meridian

Anonymous said...

I also posted on Facebook, as referenced in my discussion, the actual text of the amendment the House adopted in 2011. This amendment was brought to the floor for a vote with the consent of then-Speaker Billy McCoy and the then-chair of Judiciary B, Rep. Willie Bailey. Here is the link to the amendment: http://billstatus.ls.state.ms.us/documents/2011/pdf/ham/HB0506_H_Amend_02.htm

Rep. Greg Snowden
Meridian

StarRider said...

Concealed carry permit holders commit crimes at a rate less than that of police officers. https://crimeresearch.org/2015/02/comparing-conviction-rates-between-police-and-concealed-carry-permit-holders/

We were told when the permit law was passed there would be blood in the streets, the wild wild west all over again. Same when permitless carry was introduced. None of that has come to pass. Law abiding gun owners are not the problem here.


10:48, they gotta be able to pass the background check. Something tells me most of them won't clear that little hurdle.

Anonymous said...

The Supreme Court got it right. The activist judges did not.

Thank you Rep. Snowden.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the information Rep. Snowden, but hardly anyone thought the Democratic eras in MS under Billy McCoy or his predecessors were great.
Some of us helped create a viable GOP in the hope the GOP would try to be more responsible, conscientious and honorable.
Instead, the party and you here, seem to defend the indefensible by saying " the Dems did it" and pretend you haven't had time to fix problems they created.
Indeed, you have learned all their former Democratic administration's bad behaviors and managed to be worse.
And, the major reason you are worse is that it used to be that both the Senate and House knew who actually was smart and would tell them the facts on both sides of the aisle . When push came to shove on serious issues affecting the entire State, these fellows and Miss Gandy, would work together and the rest had enough sense to follow. Now , you old boys just do want you are told and often, not even by Mississippians but by outsiders, some of whom even have either little education or a personal history of bizarre behaviors like those two ole boys from South Carolina.
All legislators should stop taking party orders, do your own due diligence and get unbiased information, do what's best for your district if it doesn't harm all the State and just stop the nonsense.
We want good government and efficient government and frankly, that wouldn't be all that hard to achieve if all political parties were dissolved tomorrow and media was required to tell only facts that were verifiable or else lose their FCC license or their website.

Anonymous said...

6:50 asks why anybody would want to carry a weapon into a courthouse. That's almost as stupid as asking that old question, "Why would anybody need a gun that holds that many bullets?"

If I can carry a weapon in most other places, why should I not be able to carry it when I buy a car tag or search property or divorce records or file for homestead exemption or make a pizza delivery to the girls in the sheriff's office?

Do you suggest there is something inherently present in the minds of people who make them automatically angry and homicidal when they walk up the steps of a courthouse? Something that suddenly overtakes their psyche and makes them subject to the protections and restraints of people in robes who think they know what's best for us all?

Anonymous said...

As a court reporter, this scares the hell out of me. A courtroom is a place where one side always loses, and sometimes people get very angry and emotional. I think now is a good time for all courthouses in Mississippi to start using the camera system where the courtroom staff is looking at the litigants through the use of TV cameras and not our usual four feet away.

Anonymous said...

1:33 - I suggest you immediately pursue a different line of work if you afraid for your safety in your job. But, you do miss the entire point of this conversation. There is no movement to allow guns in a courtroom.

But, if you really want progress, we should do away entirely with court reporters. They're as antiquated as mules on a farm.

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