MS: New law greatly expands those who may carry a firearm into a courthouse

Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour quietly signed into law Friday HB 506 allowing virtually anyone with a firearms license in the state to carry their gun in courthouses.

Existing law (Mississippi Code Sections 45-9-101(13) and 97-37-7(2)) were relative restrictive in terms of carrying:

45-9-1010(13): No license issued pursuant to this section shall authorize any person to carry a stun gun, concealed pistol or revolver into…any courthouse; any courtroom, except that nothing in this section shall preclude a judge from carrying a concealed weapon or determining who will carry a concealed weapon in his courtroom…

97-37-7(2): A law enforcement officer, as defined in Section 45-6-3, shall be authorized to carry weapons in courthouses in performance of his official duties. This section shall in no way interfere with the right of a trial judge to restrict the carrying of firearms in the courtroom.

HB 506, however, adds the following to 97-37-7(2):

A person licensed under Section 45-9-101 to carry a concealed pistol, who has voluntarily completed an instructional course in the safe handling and use of firearms offered by an instructor certified by a nationally recognized organization that customarily offers firearms training, or by any other organization approved by the Department of Public Safety, shall also be authorized to carry weapons in courthouses except in courtrooms during a judicial proceeding… (underline added)

The bill further allows for, with the aforementioned training, carrying to a variety of other placesĀ  under Section 45-9-101(13) but explicitly keeps the ban on carrying into “any police, sheriff or highway patrol station or any detention facility, prison or jail.”

The new law goes into effect July 1, 2011.