JACKSON, MS – Jackson city Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba is using the pandemic, in concurrence with citing the death of children in the community, to suspend the open carry laws that are sanctioned by the state of Mississippi.
Yet, Attorney General Lynn Fitch warns that the mayor is likely overstepping his authority on this one.
Let me be very clear
The 2nd Amendment does not make any exceptions for pandemics
Voters will remember and not forgive the politicians who used a pandemic to take away their rights! https://t.co/zN5F4wLjnr
— Andrew Pollack (@AndrewPollackFL) April 28, 2020
On April 25th, Mayor Lumumba took to YouTube to issue an announcement of the city temporarily banning the right, which is afforded by the state itself, to open carry. At first, he stated that the existence of open carry laws somehow inhibits police being able to seize unlawful weapons:
“The open carry law interferes with law enforcement’s ability to take illegal guns off of the streets.
Prior to the open carry law, when Jackson police officer saw a gun in plain view, it gave them the probable cause to seize the weapon and determine whether it was an illegal weapon or not.”
While that may be a debatable point, there’s also a bit of an issue with police just being able to gather probable cause just by seeing someone have a gun and nothing else. The mayor then continued with the following:
“The open carry law not only provides protection to individuals who are armed with illegal weapons, but it creates an atmosphere of fear and intimidation in the community.
We cannot continue turn a blind eye to the fact that the open carry law has caused an increase in gun violence in our communities.”
The mayor then stated that by authority under Mississippi Code 1972 Title 45 Chapter 17, he is allowed to suspend the right to open carry.
That’s where AG Fitch believes he’s misinterpreting the ordained authority of his office:
“The governor’s proclamation does not authorize you to suspend the right to open carry, or any other statute or constitutional provision governing firearm possession.”
Under the code cited by Mayor Lumumba, the mayor’s office can enact the following restrictions, verbatim, during a period of crisis:
- Order the closing of all retail liquor stores
- Order the discontinuance of the sale of intoxicating liquor and/or beer
- Order the discontinuance of the manufacture, transfer, use, possession or transportation of a Molotov cocktail or any other device, instrument or object designed to explode or produce uncontained combustion
- Order the discontinuance of selling, distributing, dispensing or giving away of any firearms or ammunition of any character whatsoever
- Issue such other orders as are necessary for the protection of life and property
Essentially, he could pause the sale of firearms, but not halt the right to openly carry them when reviewing the text specific to firearms. Hence, it seems he’s edging toward the portion that states he may “issue such other orders as are necessary for the protection of life and property.”
NEW: Mississippi Attorney General sends letter to Jackson mayor RE open carry:
"Mississippians enjoy the right to lawfully open carry in all of Mississippi’s 82 counties and in every municipality within the State. The City of Jackson is no exception." https://t.co/ROQEb09qIM pic.twitter.com/nMFlNqYFCi
— Rob (@2Aupdates) April 27, 2020
That is a bit of a stretch.
AG Fitch expanded on her point that the mayor is interpreting his authority outside of their intended realms:
“Mississippians enjoy the right to lawfully open carry in all of Mississippi’s 82 counties and in every municipality in the state. The city of Jackson is no exception. The city lacks statutory authority to suspend a state statue or constitutional provision.”
Cities can't usurp the authority of the State's elected Legislature and violate the Constitutional rights of the people. I support the 2nd Amendment and will enforce the laws of this State.
— Lynn Fitch (@LynnFitch) April 26, 2020
After noting the aforementioned concerns, AG Fitch has reached out to the mayor’s office requesting that he pulls back on the issuance of said executive order banning open carry within the city.
Whether someone is pro-gun or not, it’s hard to deny that AG Fitch has brought up some significant arguments related to Mayor Lumumba’s hastily made executive order.
State Senator Chris McDaniel also commented on the order issued by the mayor of Jackson, stating the following:
“Mayor Lumumba has no power to trample on the Second Amendment. Despite his attempted power grab, he absolutely cannot block legal carry of lawfully owned firearms.”
Senator McDaniel then noted some other areas that would be better suited for the mayor to focus his attention on:
“Instead of dictating unconstitutional actions, he would be better served to finally repair the city’s potholes, help reduce violent crime against innocent victims, and perhaps balance a budget for a change.”
Perhaps using a pandemic is not the best time to craftily enact agenda items that hinder the rights of American citizens. Which is why a recently unveiled lawsuit has been brought against the mayor regarding the overzealous order.
— Rob (@2Aupdates) April 28, 2020
Well, you reap what you sow. In this case, Mayor Lumumba can now cost tax payers money to fight a legal battle that was caused by him stepping on the rights of those very tax payers. I doubt that’s a solid strategy for re-election.
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