A Hinds County circuit court judge, initially appointed to the bench by a Democrat governor, granted the wishes of a Democrat prosecutor on Friday in an “emergency hearing” to halt implementation of a gun bill opposed by Democrat lawmakers, the Associated Press reported . Judge Winston Kidd issued a temporary injunction after Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith requested that he block a new law from going into effect.
That law, House Bill 2, “Weapons; clarification of definition of concealed,” which was to commence on Monday, is one of two “gun owner protection bills” signed into law by Gov. Phil Bryant in March.
“For the purposes of this section, ‘concealed’ … shall not include … a loaded or unloaded pistol carried upon the person in a sheath, belt holster or shoulder holster that is wholly or partially visible, or carried upon the person in a scabbard or case for carrying the weapon that is wholly or partially visible,” the bill states, essentially clarifying that open carrying of firearms by non-prohibited persons in non-prohibited locations is lawful activity.
In an unabashed feat of judicial and linguistic contortion, Kidd ruled that specific language is “vague,” and justified his injunction on the grounds that allowing the bill to take effect would cause “irreparable harm.” That’s consistent with what opponents of the bill, who lost their fight to kill it in the legislature, are promulgating.
“We’re looking at a Wild West scenario,” Jody Owens, Managing Attorney of the Southern Poverty Law Center charged, with absolutely nothing other than his assertion to back up that calculated fearmongering,and disingenuously ignoring the numerous states where open carrying by law-abiding gun owners has been the practice for years (last month Mike Stollenwerk reported “Arkansas to become the nation’s 45th open carry state on August 15th”).
The media, naturally, is quick to pick up in the “Wild West” meme in spite of the facts, and in spite of the fact that the same unfounded charges were leveled — and never came to pass — when states enacted concealed carry laws.
“I never thought I’d live to see a lawsuit filed to say that the Constitution is unconstitutional, which is basically what they’re saying,” Republican House Bill 2 sponsor Rep. Andy Gipson remarked following Kidd’s injunction. Gun owners who routinely see “shall not be infringed” ignored, and who see that so-called “gun free zones” yet abound in the Magnolia State may well wonder where he’s been if he’s truly that surprised.
“Lawmen” who swore an oath to uphold that Constitution and who enjoy openly carrying firearms without question, joined with Democrat “lawmakers,” who also swore an oath, at the Capitol to demand the law’s repeal.
“Sen. Kenneth Wayne Jones … was holding a gun during the news conference,” WAPT News reported.
It was a typical bait-and-switch media stunt that’s come to be expected from those who have no honest arguments, as Jones was holding the type of rifle demonized as “assault weapons” when owned by private citizens and as “personal defense weapons” when issued to state enforcers, and the only mention of those in the House Bill 2 clarification pertains to those “with a barrel of less than sixteen (16) inches in length,” which fall under the jurisdiction of the National Firearms Act.
Such naked judicial activism engaged in by Judge Kidd for blatant political reasons ought to concern more than just gun owners, because what can be abused on one issue can be applied to others. The reason for branches of government, as used to be taught early on to schoolchildren when educating them about their rights was deemed important, is to provide checks and balances on power. The partisan convergence between Democrat factions in the legislative, executive and judicial branches here to impede and overturn a bill lawfully enacted by the representatives of the whole people hardly ensures the protections they are supposed to be guaranteed by both the Mississippi and United States Constitutions. In a system that recognizes its obligation under the law “to secure the Blessings of Liberty,” it would be cause for further inquiry, but that would require both political courage and an unbiased press that prioritizes such things.
UPDATE: Miss. AG Jim Hood has filed a petition with the State Supreme Court to overturn Kidd’s injunction.
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