MS: Checks and Balances; House Acts to Restrict Judicial Gun Bans

By Dean Weingarten

Andy Gipson R Braxton Mississippi
Andy Gipson R- Braxton Mississippi
Dean Weingarten
Dean Weingarten

Arizona – -( In Mississippi, the legislature is moving to prevent abusive infringements on the Second Amendment by members of the judiciary.

As the Nation and the States move to restore Second Amendment rights, there is a inevitable tension between government entities.  The system was designed so that various power centers in the government would act as checks and balances against abuse of the power by other branches of government.  The legislative, judicial and executive branches were meant to check abuses of the other branches power, just as the state governments were meant to act as a check on federal power.  From
State Rep. Andy Gipson, R-Braxton, who filed House Bill 571, said the proposal would prevent a judge from issuing an order to prevent a person with an enhanced permit from bringing a gun into a courthouse.

“Some judges are putting orders out to include parking lots,” Gipson said.

The House passed the bill 78-42. However, it was held on a motion to reconsider, meaning it could come back up for more debate before it can be sent to the Senate.

Gipson said the aim of the bill is to clarify what constitutes a courthouse and courtroom.

This situation is echoed all over the nation.  The solutions vary state to state.  In Texas, local governments who ban guns from government buildings are subject to fines issued by the Attorney General, if they refuse to follow the law.  In Kansas, public buildings must have metal detectors and staff to prevent people from exercising their Second Amendment rights, if firearms are to be banned at all.

All states allow judges to ban armed people from their courtroom, if they deem it necessary.  The Mississippi bill introduced by Representative Gipson is an incremental step.  It prevents judges from blanket bans on public areas, but it only applies to people with the enhanced Mississippi carry permit.  It does this by clarifying the definition of “courthouse” and “courtroom” in the law. From HB 571:

(i) “Courthouse” means any building in which a circuit court, chancery court, youth court, municipal court or justice court is located, or any building in which a court of law is regularly held. “Courthouse” shall not mean the grassed areas, cultivated flower beds, sidewalks, parking lots, or other areas contained within the boundaries of the public land upon which the courthouse is located.

(ii) “Courtroom” means the actual room in which a judicial proceeding occurs, including any jury room, witness room, judge’s chamber, office housing the judge’s staff, or similar room. “Courtroom” shall not mean hallways, courtroom entrances, courthouse grounds, lobbies, corridors, or other areas within a courthouse which are generally open to the public for the transaction of business outside of an active judicial proceeding.

HB 571 passed the House with a wide margin, 78 to 42.  It is a bit of uncomplicated legislative work to keep the judicial branch from abusing their power.  I expect that it will pass the Senate and be signed into law, but the legislative process is designed to be difficult.  Much can happen before the end of the legislative session.

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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About Dean Weingarten;

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.