BY: Steve Wilson |

Senate Bill 2862, signed by Gov. Phil Bryant in 2010, changed Mississippi law to allow people to carry guns in parks. The law removed the prohibition in Mississippi Code pertaining to guns in parks, except in the case of political rallies, athletic events not involving firearms or concerts. House Bill 2, passed in 2013 and upheld by the Mississippi Supreme Court, allowed gun owners to legally carry their weapons in the open with a few restrictions.

State Rep. Andy Gipson, R-Braxton, said the Pat Harrison Waterway District isn’t complying with state law, which doesn’t include parks as one of the protected areas — such as courthouses, police stations and jails — where open and concealed carry of firearms aren’t allowed. He said state law, which allows anyone older than 18 to carry a concealed weapon in their car or truck, trumps any restriction by the district board.

House Bill 314, which was passed last year and was signed by Bryant, restricts the rights of counties and municipalities to pass restrictive ordinances on firearms and creates an appeal process, handled by the state attorney general’s office. The problem, Gipson said, is that HB 314 doesn’t cover state entities like the Pat Harrison Waterway District, and he may consider addressing that in next year’s legislative session.

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