Gipson says Governor supports controversial gun bill

Does Governor Bryant support HB 1083? Author of the bill Andy Gipson says that he does.

The bill passed through the house last week and would create a system for individuals with the enhanced concealed carry license to sue organizations or institutions if they are not permitted to enter with their firearm.

While the bill has created a controversy specifically relating to athletic events on college campuses, Gipson says that concealed carry will persist whether this bill makes it or not. Getting rid of the law allowing firearms in these venues would require a rollback of gun laws in the state, and Gipson says that he has support from Governor Bryant as the bill moves forward.

“The governor has told me that he supports HB 1083 because all it does is create this process. I’m not sure he would sign a rollback of our concealed carry laws,” Gipson said.

University presidents, athletic directors and, even SEC commissioner, Greg Sankey have all spoken out against the bill stating that scheduling for Ole Miss and MSU athletic events could be affected. Gipson says that their outrage is misplaced as this bill has no bearing over the law which has existed for the past seven years.

“The first time I heard from the SEC was after we passed the bill…It was obvious to me that from reading that letter, that they either did not know or were poorly advised that we already have campus carry in Mississippi,” Gipson said. “Whether 1083 lives or dies, we have campus carry in Mississippi. In fact, we’ve had it longer than most of these University presidents have been presidents or even lived in our state.”

Related: 67,000 enhanced carry permit holders could fill MS stadiums

 

“I’m not going to offer to rollback our second amendment rights, I took an oath to uphold these rights,” Gipson said.

In an editorial released to the public, Gipson says that policies designed by the Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) have attempted to circumvent state law.

“This law, which passed the House unanimously, has been in existence for almost seven years.  An Attorney General’s opinion issued to IHL in 2012 confirmed that universities could not ban enhanced carry permit holders from their campuses.  Since then, IHL and its member universities have chosen to disregard the law by adopting policies restricting the population of responsible, trained gun owners,” Gipson says.  

To obtain an enhanced concealed carry license one must complete eight hours of classroom and live-fire range instruction from a DPS-approved instructor, including a review of the legal requirements of concealed carry in Mississippi and laws relating to the use of deadly force.

Rep. Jay Hughes from Lafayette, (where Ole Miss is located) says that the Republican supermajority makes a rollback highly unlikely. Hughes voted in favor of the bill because he says that the bill doesn’t create any new law, but rather clarifies an existing law. Hughes says that a unified front from the university leaders was needed before the vote as opposed to afterward.

“It’ll either die in the Senate or be amended to address those changes, but where was that force of all those universities the day before,” Hughes said. “Why wait until the horse is out before you close the barn door?”

Recognizing what Gipson said regarding the future of concealed carry on college campuses, Hughes says that the bill was created as a way to create a discussion around gun laws in Mississippi.

“This was designed as political posturing to create a dialogue to pit neighbor against neighbor and constituents against rep, that’s all it is,” Hughes stated.

The bill is currently awaiting a vote in the Senate.

NewsMS reached out and is awaiting a statement from Governor Bryant regarding his support of the bill or any potential effect the law may have on college campuses across the state.