Friend of the court briefs were filed yesterday in the Mississippi Supreme Court for the case of State of Mississippi v. Robert Shuler Smith supporting the position of state Attorney General Jim Hood. Last week, the attorney general filed an appeal petition and a motion to vacate an injunction by Hinds County Circuit Court Judge Winston Kidd preventing a law clarifying concealed weapons from taking effect. Smith is the Hinds County District Attorney, who along with a handful of legislators and constables, receiving legal prodding and support from the Southern Poverty Law Center, filed the action to block the new law.
All the briefs and supporting motion documents can be found at the case docket page.
Those filing briefs include Governor Phil Bryant, who had approved the blocked law and who noted “the sky has not fallen in the numerous other states in which open carry is permitted.”
“Defining the term ‘concealed’ does not make the concealed weapon statutes unconstitutionally vague,” the brief filed by attorney Stephen D. Stamboulieh for “certain named legislators” argued. “To the contrary, it clarifies the statute and brings much needed resolution to what constitutes a crime in Mississippi: carrying a concealed weapon without a license to do so.
“As such, the Named Mississippi Legislators believe that the statute, HB2, is completely constitutional and necessary to protect the citizens of Mississippi, and was enacted under the authority vested with the Legislature,” the brief concluded.
“The concerns raised by the Circuit Court are wholly unfounded and are easily dispelled by a review of both state and federal law,” the National Rifle Association declared in its brief. “House Bill 2 clarifies the right protected by Article 3, Section 12 of the Mississippi Constitution by defining previous (and current) terms of the law. The right to open carry in the state was not affected by HB 2, and the Circuit Court’s attempt to prevent chaos’ by enjoining it fails to recognize that open carrying in Mississippi has and will continue in its absence.”
A brief that may surprise some was filed by a gun rights group for a different state, Florida Carry, Inc.
“Every day that the present injunction is allowed to stand the basic fundamental rights of Mississippians and visitors to the State are irreparably harmed,” the brief explains.
“Florida Carry has substantial, legitimate interest in representing its members, whether they are residents of Mississippi or future visitors to Mississippi,” the group argued in a brief supporting its motion for leave to brief as amicus curiae. “The interests of its members, law abiding firearm owners who seek to exercise their constitutional right to keep and bear arms while present in the state of Mississippi, will not be adequately protected by the parties.”
As a result of Attorney General Hood’s petition, Chief Justice William L. Waller, Jr, ordered the respondents to file a response on or before August 5.
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