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Concealed Carry in Church
June 20, 2015
With the recent tragic events in South Carolina, it is past time to address concealed carry in church. Generally, in Mississippi, it is unlawful to carry a firearm into a house of worship (a church). However, in 2011, the Mississippi legislature amended our concealed carry licensing laws and permitted "enhanced permit holders" to carry a concealed firearm in a church. See Miss. Code. Ann. § 97-37-7(2).
In order to receive this "permission" to carry into a church, one must first have the regular permit issued by the Department of Public Safety and then attend an 8 hour instructional course on weapons training from "an instructor certified by a nationally recognized organization." Upon receiving this training, the permit holder will be given an endorsement on the back of his/her permit that shows that he/she received the additional training and is licensed to carry a firearm in additional places.
But why carry in a church? It seems as though that is our safe place, or at least it should seem that way. The truth is that it is not. A church is inviting. It wants everyone to attend. It doesn't turn people away based on how they dress, how much money they make, what color they are, or if they aren't even Christian. The church welcomes all. This is a good thing, but it also has its risks. A church is essentially a gathering of people which presents a soft target to a person intent on murder.
If your church is interested in putting together a plan and, in my opinion, that plan should include individuals licensed and trained to use a firearm, make sure that those individuals are properly trained on how to use that firearm and the law. To that end, if there is a church, or a group of churches, interested in learning about the law, I will make myself available at no charge to give a presentation on firearms law in Mississippi in the metro area. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I also have an extensive network of firearms trainers that I would be more than happy to reach out to if you are interested in receiving training on firearms too (which I highly recommend).