Mississippi House Bill 786 is poised to become law any second. This is commonly referred to as the “Mississippi Church Protection Act.”
It basically extends Castle Law Doctrine immunities to you while at church, if you otherwise meet the requirements. Prerequisites include that your Church is such per state law, that your Church establish a security program, that members of said security program otherwise meet the licensure requirements of 45-9-101 and said members take an instructional course. Finally, the members must be in the act of “resisting any unlawful attempt to kill a member(s) or attendee(s) of such church or place of worship, or to commit any felony upon any such member or attendee in the church or place of worship or in the immediate premises thereof.”
This Bill is being noted for what else it claims to do. Buried on page 18 of 30 in the bill is a one sentence addendum to the current concealed carry statute, 45-9-101 et al.
“(24) No license shall be required under this section for a loaded or unloaded pistol or revolver carried upon the person in a sheath, belt holster or shoulder holster or carried in a purse, handbag, satchel, other similar bag or briefcase or fully enclosed case.”
I’ve seen stories, blogs and FaceBook posts touting this as a seismic shift in Mississippi Gun law. However, readers of this blog will know that this has been the law since at least July 2013. At this time, the definition of Concealed for purposes of the law came into being.
“97-37-1. (1) Except as otherwise provided in Section 45-9-101, any person who carries, concealed * * * on or about one’s person, any pistol, revolver… must have a concealed carry license.”
“(4) For the purposes of this section, “concealed” means hidden or obscured from common observation and shall not include… 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.”
Are you safer in church? Well, that depends on who you go to Church with. Is there any other meaningful change in the law? No, just further clarifying what the law is and making the criminal code and concealed carry laws consistent.
Matthew Thompson is a Family Law Attorney in Mississippi and supports your Second Amendement right to responsible gun onwership.
(601) 850-8000 or Matthew@bowtielawyer.ms