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Asked not to carry in gas station again

independence

Regular Member
Joined
Jul 10, 2013
Messages
339
Location
Tennessee
I've been too busy to post my open carry experiences during the past few months but hope to post a few during the next couple weeks. Here's what happened to me a few months ago in Mississippi:

I was driving from Alabama to Tennessee one night and had to go through Mississippi. At about 9:30 PM, I stopped in Iuka, MS at the Shell gas station\"Sprint Mart" at 1000 W Quitman St., Iuka, MS 38852. (Yup, I'm callin' em out.) I was really tired from a busy day at work. First, I filled up my tank with gas. Then, I went inside open carrying after checking and not seeing any postings at the door. I needed to buy some grocery type items which I needed for the next morning. There were two white guys behind the counter. The older guy was restocking stuff and eyed me with a smirk, for whatever reason. The younger guy never kept his eyes off me for a millisecond. In fact, he would periodically try to make awkward small talk with me from across the room. It was really strange. Like, I would be on the whole other side of the room getting a gallon of milk he would be yelling to me about the weather or something. Odd.

So, I came up to the counter with my items and the younger guy talks extremely friendly to me. Very warm country talk, etc. He rings me up and it is like maybe $30 of grocery items - which is not too hard to do at the exorbitant convenience store prices. *After* I pay him, he starts to get this (even more) super duper syrupy polite voice and says that he likes guns and everything and has one himself but they do have a sign banning guns and could I please not carry one next time I'm there. Since I hadn't seen the sign, I asked him where it was. He points at it. Turns out the sign was outside on the window several feet from the door and about 3 inches off the ground -- hardly noticeable by any stretch.

Now at this point I was really tired. I have to admit that after crossing so many borders during that day, I suddenly forgot I was in MS and was thinking I was in AL. I said to him, "Well, that sign doesn't carry the weight of law." (Which is true in AL.) I can't remember everything I said to him, but the other main thing I said was something like, "What I usually do if a business doesn't respect the right to bear arms is simply not come back. So, I guess I won't be coming back." I said all of this very calmly. He said something like, "I understand." About halfway through this conversation, the older guy (the boss?) walked by with an even bigger smirk. The younger guy then said something like that it wasn't a big deal that I open carried there at night because there weren't very many people but if I came back during the day, they would have to ask me to leave for sure. I told him something like, "Whelp, I don't plan to be back ever again or make any purchases here in the future so me coming back won't be a problem." I kept my cool the entire time but I felt like asking him to refund my money and just leaving my merchandise there.

I walked out the door and took a good look at his stinkin' little sign. Ridiculous. Not only was it several feet away from the door and like 3 inches off the ground, but it wasn't even legally binding according to MS law. It was about then that I realized my mistake of briefly thinking I was in Alabama and telling the guy the sign wasn't legally binding. I totally lucked out because the sign truly wasn't binding according to MS law, even though I thought I was in AL. It had the wrong verbiage and therefore wasn't binding. In other words, I was right but only by chance. Stupid laws. Anyway. I snapped a couple of photos for you.

FYI, for those who don't know, in order for a posting in MS to be legally binding, it must say:

"carrying of a pistol or revolver is prohibited."

(I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice. See http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/mscode/ )

It's funny that his sign references 45-9-101 (13) but doesn't actually follow it.

So anyway, if you're ever in the tiny town of Iuka, MS, please boycott the Shell gas station\"Sprint Mart". :)
 

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0utlier

New member
Joined
Aug 11, 2014
Messages
3
Location
United States
Let me try and clarify MS law and AG opinion on your circumstance. As stated in the MS Constitution the legislature can only regulate concealed carry. They have no authority to regulate open carry so the MS code you referenced only refers to carrying a concealed weapon, not open carry.

In MS you must make a distinction between gun laws and trespass law. The AG has stated several times that any "No Gun" sign is sufficient warning for trespass and the statutory language referenced in MS Code 45-9-101 is unnecessary (for almost all circumstances). Let me provide an example that may explain.

1. Let's say you unwittingly (or willingly) open carry into a store with a "No Guns" sign. You have violated no firearms law. However, you could theoretically be in violation of trespass law (MS Code 97-17-97) as you were given notice by a sign that firearms weren't allowed. In reality you most likely will never be arrested for trespass unless you have been previously warned by law enforcement not to enter with a firearm, yet continue to do so.

Most people don't understand the minutia of the laws and that includes law enforcement unfortunately, and store owners especially. Their sign referencing MS Code 45-9-101 could only, maybe, possibly, put in jeopardy a standard MS Firearms permit holder to be in violation of 45-9-101. That sign would not trigger a firearms violation for an open carrier or MS enhanced carry endorsement holder. Theoretically it could trigger a trespass violation though. Theoretically.
 
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independence

Regular Member
Joined
Jul 10, 2013
Messages
339
Location
Tennessee
Let me try and clarify MS law and AG opinion on your circumstance. As stated in the MS Constitution the legislature can only regulate concealed carry. They have no authority to regulate open carry so the MS code you referenced only refers to carrying a concealed weapon, not open carry.

In MS you must make a distinction between gun laws and trespass law. The AG has stated several times that any "No Gun" sign is sufficient warning for trespass and the statutory language referenced in MS Code 45-9-101 is unnecessary (for almost all circumstances). Let me provide an example that may explain.

1. Let's say you unwittingly (or willingly) open carry into a store with a "No Guns" sign. You have violated no firearms law. However, you could theoretically be in violation of trespass law (MS Code 97-17-97) as you were given notice by a sign that firearms weren't allowed. In reality you most likely will never be arrested for trespass unless you have been previously warned by law enforcement not to enter with a firearm, yet continue to do so.

Most people don't understand the minutia of the laws and that includes law enforcement unfortunately, and store owners especially. Their sign referencing MS Code 45-9-101 could only, maybe, possibly, put in jeopardy a standard MS Firearms permit holder to be in violation of 45-9-101. That sign would not trigger a firearms violation for an open carrier or MS enhanced carry endorsement holder. Theoretically it could trigger a trespass violation though. Theoretically.
Interesting. Never heard that one. Could you provide a cite for the AG opinion you spoke of?
 

independence

Regular Member
Joined
Jul 10, 2013
Messages
339
Location
Tennessee
Let me try and clarify MS law and AG opinion on your circumstance. As stated in the MS Constitution the legislature can only regulate concealed carry. They have no authority to regulate open carry so the MS code you referenced only refers to carrying a concealed weapon, not open carry.

In MS you must make a distinction between gun laws and trespass law. The AG has stated several times that any "No Gun" sign is sufficient warning for trespass and the statutory language referenced in MS Code 45-9-101 is unnecessary (for almost all circumstances). Let me provide an example that may explain.

1. Let's say you unwittingly (or willingly) open carry into a store with a "No Guns" sign. You have violated no firearms law. However, you could theoretically be in violation of trespass law (MS Code 97-17-97) as you were given notice by a sign that firearms weren't allowed. In reality you most likely will never be arrested for trespass unless you have been previously warned by law enforcement not to enter with a firearm, yet continue to do so.

Most people don't understand the minutia of the laws and that includes law enforcement unfortunately, and store owners especially. Their sign referencing MS Code 45-9-101 could only, maybe, possibly, put in jeopardy a standard MS Firearms permit holder to be in violation of 45-9-101. That sign would not trigger a firearms violation for an open carrier or MS enhanced carry endorsement holder. Theoretically it could trigger a trespass violation though. Theoretically.
I'm not sure which part of my post you would like corroboration, but most everything I said regarding the AG opinion can be found by visiting https://govt.westlaw.com/msag/Index and in the search box look up the below opinion number.

3874213

Alright, let me see if I got this right:

--A sign that says, "carrying of a pistol or revolver is prohibited" makes concealing (only) with a standard permit a violation of 45-9-101. This sign would not restrict an open carrier or enhanced permit holder, at least as it pertains to 45-9-101.

--Any sign that bans guns with just about any language could possibly make a concealed carrier with a standard or enhanced permit or an open carrier in violation of 97-17-97 (trespassing).

--The sign I encountered has nothing to do with firearms law but could possibly put me in violation of trespassing law.

Is that what you're saying?

Btw, I don't think this particular sign would meet the requirements of 97-17-97 by any stretch of the imagination:

97-17-97
"...at a place or places where such sign or signs may be reasonably seen..."
The sign was several feet away from the door, about 3 inches off the ground and very small, which I would not consider "reasonably seen" at all.

Thanks for your clarifying post, though. Can I just say right here and now that the idea of an "enhanced" carry permit is the stupidest thing I've ever heard of? "Pay us even more money and you can have your natural, God given rights 'enhanced'!" Not to mention that a nonresident can't even get one!! You'd think they'd want more money and would therefore let nonresidents have one, but no. I also find it amusing that one way for an MS resident to get the enhanced permit is to take the Tennessee Handgun Carry Permit class -- a class I have already went to and passed but yet I can't have an enhanced! (I live in TN.) Irritating. End of rant.

If you would, please confirm for me if I summarized the law correctly above, in your opinion. Thanks.
 
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0utlier

New member
Joined
Aug 11, 2014
Messages
3
Location
United States
Hey,

Alright, let me see if I got this right:

--A sign that says, "carrying of a pistol or revolver is prohibited" makes concealing (only) with a standard permit a violation of 45-9-101. This sign would not restrict an open carrier or enhanced permit holder, at least as it pertains to 45-9-101.

--Any sign that bans guns with just about any language could possibly make a concealed carrier with a standard or enhanced permit or an open carrier in violation of 97-17-97 (trespassing).

--The sign I encountered has nothing to do with firearms law but could possibly put me in violation of trespassing law.

Is that what you're saying?
That's about it. Mississippi law regarding weapons is convoluted to say the least. The enhancement is nice for us as we can conceal carry virtually anywhere in the State. Places prohibited anywhere else in the US.

The 4 enumerated places we cannot conceal carry is police stations and the like, prisons and the like, courtrooms while court is in session, and places like crackhouses, prostitution houses, illegal alcohol is sold, etc. "Places of nuisance" is what they call it. Other than that, we are in no fear of violating any firearms laws while carrying in any other location within the State.

The State doesn't charge for the enhanced endorsement. The charge is by the private instructors. The endorsement is free once you receive your class completion certificate. The class is basically the same as any other firearms class required by most States to receive a permit. It's basically the NRA Basic Pistol course with an hour of MS law.
 
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SovereignAxe

Regular Member
Joined
Jul 29, 2011
Messages
795
Location
Elizabethton, TN
I woulda just told him that gas stations are a dime a dozen and that I'll take my $30 grocery business across the street/down the road next time.
 
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