A small group gathered at the Capitol on Thursday to urge members of the Mississippi House to vote against a bill that would allow churches to designate certain members to carry concealed guns in the church.
Rep. Andy Gipson, R-Braxton, the author of the bill, has said the bill’s intention is to give church members a way to protect themselves in the wake of the shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston last year.
But local members of the African Methodist Episcopal said the “Mississippi Church Protection Safety Act” does the opposite, putting Mississippians at risk by lowering the bar for who can carry a concealed gun in public.
Gipson says, however, that a change to the law last year already provided a permitless concealed carry option to Mississippians otherwise eligible to carry a gun under state or federal law. The law would allow concealed carry without a license in a “purse, handbag, satchel, other similar bag or briefcase or fully enclosed case.”
Since the law went into effect in July of last year, there have been no reports of problems, according to Gipson.