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Another Pre-emption holdout

Eeyore

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Joined
Aug 25, 2007
Messages
549
Location
the meanest city in the stupidest state
http://packet-media.com/2013/06/29/...itchensarledge-respond-to-community-concerns/

On Wednesday, City of Columbus Attorney Jeff Turnage said the city may have to alter its current gun ordinance. “The city has had a gun ordinance in place for years,” Turnage said. “But it probably needs to be revised after a recent AG’s opinion on HB-2.”

The city’s gun ordinance is as follows: “Firearm. ‘Firearm’ means any device, by whatever name known, which is designed to expel a projectile by the action of an explosion, expansion of gas, or escape of gas; including, but not limited to, a handgun, pistol, airgun, revolver, rifle, or shotgun. (b) Prohibition. No individual within the city may possess a firearm or dangerous weapon at: (1) A public park or at a public meeting of a county, municipality, or other governmental body; (2) A non-firearm-related political rally, parade, or public meeting; (3) A non-firearm-related school, college, or professional event, including, but not limited to, an athletic event, a concert, or other group assembly; (4) In or upon the premises of any financial institution; or (5) In or upon the premises of any establishment which permits on-premises consumption of beer, wine, liquor, or other alcoholic beverages. c) Exceptions; generally. The prohibition in section (b) hereinabove does not apply if the firearm was in or carried to and from an area designated for use in a lawful hunting, fishing, or other gun-related sporting event, or certified firearm training facility and the firearm is of the type commonly used in the activity. (d) Exceptions; peace officers, security guards, etc. The prohibition in section (b) hereinabove does not apply to peace officers, security guards, authorized employees, or authorized investigators. (e) Penalties. An individual violating the above prohibition shall be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.00.”
(Columbus City Code Sec. 20-64)

Unless I'm very wrong, §45-9-51 rendered this ordinance moot years ago: "Subject to the provisions of Section 45-9-53, no county or municipality may adopt any ordinance that restricts or requires the possession, transportation, sale, transfer or ownership of firearms or ammunition or their components."
 

Eeyore

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Joined
Aug 25, 2007
Messages
549
Location
the meanest city in the stupidest state
Or maybe not...

After corresponding with the city attorney--who was very polite and helpful, by the way--it appears that Columbus' restrictions are at least partially legit. He pointed out §45-9-53, which grants exceptions to the pre-emption in §45-9-51. Municipalities are allowed "(f) To regulate the carrying of a firearm at: (i) a public park or at a public meeting of a county, municipality or other governmental body; (ii) a political rally, parade or official political meeting; or (iii) a nonfirearm-related school, college or professional athletic event;"

So, their restriction against carry in financial institutions and places serving alcohol are outside their purview and can't be enforced, but the others can.

My big take-aways from this are:
- each and every town in the state probably has similar restrictions already on the books, and finding them will be annoying;
- there may be county ordinances as well (so far, I haven't found where/if Lowndes County publishes theirs)
- these restrictions would apply to open carry as well as concealed, regardless of what happens with HB2.

So I guess I should thank those morons in Hinds County for forcing me to look into this further before I OCed, otherwise I could've been [legitimately] arrested for violation of the city ordinance. Further proof that a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing!
 

MyGlockisaRedneck0

Regular Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2013
Messages
51
Location
Philadelphia, Mississippi, USA
Minutes

No legal scholar here for sure. Past experience has shown that when Boards of Education or Boards of Supervisors of Counties do not have written rules or regulations, they are said to be "contained in the minutes." That does not help much for often the "minutes are at the publishers or the binders, etc." A school district that I once was employed by kept their minutes at the "publishers" for over five years while they were in federal court!

Anyway, confusion abounds when each and every town, city, and county thinks that they get to write their own rules about OC! Again, no clear informatin from anyone in state government, especially the A-G!
 

Eeyore

Regular Member
Joined
Aug 25, 2007
Messages
549
Location
the meanest city in the stupidest state
Update

Columbus City Council will be voting to revamp their ordinance regarding weapons, according to http://www.wcbi.com/wordpress/columbus-to-better-define-weapons-ban I received several foaming-at-the-mouth e-mails and petition requests claiming that Columbus was attempting to ban firearms on all city property. Although the WCBI article makes it sound like it's a wide-ranging ban, the actual text of the ordinance reprinted there appears to comply exactly with 45-9-51 & -53.

So while I'm not exactly happy about the new law, it's an improvement over the existing one in that it doesn't appear to violate state law.

On the other hand, I noticed that the public library has posted a "no firearms" sign at its entrance. I contacted the city attorney about it, and I'm waiting for a reply.
 

Eeyore

Regular Member
Joined
Aug 25, 2007
Messages
549
Location
the meanest city in the stupidest state
New Question

I noticed that the public library has posted a "no firearms" sign at its entrance. I contacted the city attorney about it, and I'm waiting for a reply.
Well, the city attorney wrote back to say that the library is a joint city/county operation, and that to the best of his knowledge, Lowndes County bans firearms from all county property. So now I'm trying to figure out if 45-9-51 & 53 apply to counties. If a county is considered a subdivision of the state, then I wouldn't think they'd have to power to ban. If it's a "municipality," then 45-9-51/53 apply. If it's some other kind of legal entity, I dunno what happens. Does anyone know how a county fits into the legal framework in Mississippi?
 

Daylen

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Aug 29, 2010
Messages
2,224
Location
America
Well, the city attorney wrote back to say that the library is a joint city/county operation, and that to the best of his knowledge, Lowndes County bans firearms from all county property. So now I'm trying to figure out if 45-9-51 & 53 apply to counties. If a county is considered a subdivision of the state, then I wouldn't think they'd have to power to ban. If it's a "municipality," then 45-9-51/53 apply. If it's some other kind of legal entity, I dunno what happens. Does anyone know how a county fits into the legal framework in Mississippi?
Counties are subdivisions of the state. All non-federal governments in the state are subdivisions of the state as the state is the sole sovereign entity (and the law says so).

§ 45-9-51. Prohibition against adoption of certain ordinances


Subject to the provisions of Section 45-9-53, no county or municipality may adopt any ordinance that restricts or requires the possession, transportation, sale, transfer or ownership of firearms or ammunition or their components.

45-9-53. Exceptions


(1) This section and Section 45-9-51 do not affect the authority that a county or municipality may have under another law:
...

(f) To regulate the carrying of a firearm at: (i) a public park or at a public meeting of a county, municipality or other governmental body; (ii) a political rally, parade or official political meeting; or (iii) a nonfirearm-related school, college or professional athletic event; or...
Libraries are not exempted from the preemption and neither are counties. In fact counties are specifically mentioned just like municipalities.
 

Eeyore

Regular Member
Joined
Aug 25, 2007
Messages
549
Location
the meanest city in the stupidest state
A gadfly's work is never done

Today I contacted the county attorney regarding their illegal ban on all county property. (Attached as "order.pdf") I hand-delivered a letter with supporting attachments (See "gadfly" attachment). The AG released his updated opinion the evening after I printed the letter, so I hand-wrote a P.S. with a link to it and pointed out that it only further bolstered my argument.

So now we wait and see if the signs come down.
 

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