Gov. Phil Bryant today signed into law two measures to protect gun owner rights. House Bill 485, which takes effect immediately, protects personal information collected from applicants for concealed carry permits. House Bill 2, effective July 1, clarifies the legal definition of carrying a concealed weapon.
"In January, I called on House and Senate leaders to take swift action to protect gun owners and the right to arms, and today I am signing two very important gun rights measures into law," Gov. Bryant said.
House Bill 485, sponsored by Representative Mark Baker (R-Brandon), removes personal information collected from applicants for concealed carry permits from public record requirements. Applicant and permit holder information is still available if ordered by a court.
"As a matter of public safety, I remain opposed to releasing personal information on law abiding gun owners," Gov. Bryant said. "Sensitive gun owner information is entitled to privacy protections--just like medical records, tax documents and personnel files."
House Speaker Philip Gunn said the new law is a positive step toward protecting Mississippian's Second Amendment rights.
"Law-abiding citizens should not feel like they are doing something wrong by having a concealed carry permit," Speaker Gunn said. "This law exempts their names and addresses from being a matter of public record, which we feel will protect their rights and identities."
"This legislation strengthens the Second Amendment rights of Mississippians by ensuring gun owners can continue to protect themselves and their families," Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves said. "We will continue to defend our liberty by supporting strong pro-gun laws that provide actual protection for gun owners."
Gov. Bryant also signed into law House Bill 2, sponsored by Representative Andy Gipson (R-Brandon). Under the new law, a citizen licensed to carry a concealed weapon will not be penalized if part of his or her weapon is visible. Case law has established that if any part of a weapon is obscured from view, including by a holster, it is considered concealed.
House Bill 2 also permits active duty military personnel or veterans who are at least 18 years of age to apply for a concealed carry permit. Civilian citizens must be at least 21 years of age to apply.
The National Rifle Association supports both measures.
"These two bills protect the privacy of Mississippians and remove legal traps for law-abiding citizens wanting to exercise their right to carry firearms for personal defense," said Chris W. Cox, executive director of NRA's Institute for Legislative Action. "On behalf of NRA members and all gun owners in Mississippi, I would like to thank Gov. Bryant for signing these bills, as well as Lt. Governor Tate Reeves, House Speaker Philip Gunn, state Representative Andy Gipson, state Senator Giles Ward, state Representative Mark Baker, and state Senator Briggs Hopson for championing this important pro-gun legislation."