Can aldermen guarantee your safety on municipal property?

Published 7:00 pm Saturday, July 13, 2013

 Dear Editor:

     A number of Mississippi businesses have posted signs disallowing “weapons” in the aftermath of the confusion caused by the open carry bill issue in the State of Mississippi.

     I’ve contacted the owners and/or managers of businesses, including the Mississippi Coliseum in Biloxi where my family and I attended the Ringling Brothers Circus recently, and in each case I was told there was no objection to concealed carry by permit. 

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     Perhaps then it would be more appropriate for businesses to post signs stating “Open Carry Not Allowed” if that is their real intent. Heretofore. I am unaware of any businesses that I have frequented who have previously objected to concealed carry by lawfully authorized persons.

      Now it appears that the confusion is carrying over into municipal decision-making. Brookhaven recently unanimously approved an ordinance banning weapons on any municipal property throughout the city. 

     The statute reads, as quoted in a Daily Leader publication: “The Board of Alderman [sic] state that it is their purpose to protect those who avail themselves of Municipal Services on Municipal property and guarantee their safety from violent or threatening behavior at those facilities by anyone who openly carries a weapon on those facilities.”

     Here again, confusion. Are they disallowing only a citizen “openly” carrying a firearm, or do they intend to prohibit the carry of any firearms, including concealed firearms by properly licensed citizens?

     You may want to note that in their haste to outlaw certain gaming machines that personal computers were inadvertently outlawed by lawmakers elsewhere.

      One could legitimately argue that the city of Brookhaven cannot guarantee an individual’s safety. As a matter-of-fact, the Supreme Court has ruled that even the police have no duty to protect the individual.

     Why would Alderman think they have that power or authority?

Jim Hampton