Mississippi Churches Can Designate Individuals For Armed Security

photo from 2acheck.com

This week, the governor of Mississippi signed a bill that allows some members of churches to undergo training so they can provide armed security for their congregations, according to this story from wcpo.com.

The Church Protection Act says those designated by the church can carry guns into church buildings and also provides certain legal protections. It also allows those individuals to carry a holstered weapon without a permit.

The story says there are only two states that outright prohibit all guns from places of worship, Georgia and North Dakota, while eights states prohibit concealed carry permit holders from carrying in places of worship. Other states leave it up to the individual institutions.

The bill was authored by Baptist pastor and state Rep. Andy Gipson (R-District 77). According to the story, he says it's necessary in light of the killing of nine parishioners in a church in Charleston, South Carolina last year, and that the law gives small congregations a legal option to defend themselves against such an attack, the story says.

The Mississippi Association of Police Chiefs has opposed the portion of the bill that loosens permit requirements for the designated individuals, and says it works to dismantle the state’s permitting system.

Mississippi is currently a shall-issue state, which issues concealed carry permits that are valid for five years. However, according to the law, concealed carry is not allowed in a school, courthouse, police station, detention facility, government meeting place, polling place, establishment primarily devoted to dispensing alcoholic beverages, athletic event, parade or demonstration for which a permit is required, passenger terminal of an airport, "place of nuisance" as defined in Mississippi Code section 95–3–1, or a location where a sign is posted and clearly visible from at least ten feet away saying that the "carrying of a pistol or revolver is prohibited.”

According the Unlicensed Open Carry Law, which went into effect in 2013, open carry without a permit is allowed in Mississippi.