What happens when a bunch of gun zealots panic and enact a law that seeks to ensure the “gub’mint” can’t come and take “ma’h gunz”? You get a confusing shit-show like you have in Mississippi, that’s what. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that in the reddest of red states, there’s been a counter-push to the movement for gun law reform in the country. In Mississippi — which is as red as they come — they decided to make it completely legal to openly carry a firearm, which isn’t on the face of it that big of a deal. After all, the state’s already pretty much an open-carry state, but what makes this law a little bit more confusing?
You don’t need a permit to open-carry.
Yes, you read that right. In the great state of (oh dear God do I have to type out all the letter again?) Mississippi now has a law on its books that allows gun owners to openly carry their firearms in public without a gun permit. If you wanted to visit the OK Corral this summer but were lamenting the fact that time travel doesn’t exist, you may be in luck! Just head on out to Mississippi after July 1st, when the law takes effect, and you might get to see what it was like to live in the wild, wild west.
Apparently law enforcement in the state is well aware of the fact that the general public, who may not be so prone to frothing at the mouth over gun laws, may freak the fuck out when they see a ton of guns openly carried on the streets. Well, I should say a ton more guns, since it is Mississippi we’re talking about here. Chief deputy of the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Department, Ward Calhoun, said of the law, “This new law will result in quite a few calls from the general public as they notice more guns being carried out in the open.” It only stands to reason. Even in a state like Mississippi (I’m just a glutton for punishment apparently), a law like this is pretty unheard of.
Laws like this one make a great case for a standardized set of Federal gun trafficking and carrying laws. You could make a pretty good argument that since Constitutional precedent already exists for the Feds to dictate the kinds of weapons and ammunition available for purchase, that in the interest of domestic tranquility the Feds have jurisdiction to at the very least force states to require permits. It just seems preposterous that we’d allow a state to draft such a brazenly dangerous law.
Guns are dangerous enough as it is. Despite the cries otherwise from the gun zealots, the truth is that day in and day out guns are used in either in willful or accidental shootings that result in horrific injuries and death. Just in the six months or so since the tragedy that befell Newtown, CT at Sandy Hook Elementary, at least 5000 more people have died at the barrel of a gun. We can argue the Second Amendment’s rights and protections all we want, but what cannot deny is that guns are not to be treated like soda or even a drug. Guns aren’t cars, so that comparison is stupid too. The truth, the undeniable truth, is that some products, some objects, require legislation and regulation that goes above and beyond the minimal effort, which is all the lawmakers in Mississippi have put in.
It doesn’t take someone who wants to melt all the guns down in the world to see that laws which seek to remove safety precautions (waiting periods, gun permits) are the antithesis of what we need in this country. Perhaps we’ll never get to that utopian ideal where everyone hands in their guns in exchange for gardening tools. Maybe we’ll never get some in this country to see that stockpiling weapons for the day they have to fight back against a “tyrannical” (read: “duly elected in free and fair elections) government that has more military firepower than they’d ever be able to defend against is stupid and dangerous. What we can do though is marshal the forces of the 90% of us that wanted universal background checks extended to all gun purchases and make it known to states like Mississippi that writing idiotic, dangerous and confusing gun laws won’t do anything but add to already dangerous level of buffoonery when it comes to America and her firearms.