July 31, 2013 was not just another day in Mississippi. It represented a deep tradition going on for some 124 years. It was Neshoba County Fair time. For the last 124 years, everyone who was somebody, sat foot on that traditional stage to sell themselves for political office. This year being an off election year, has smaller than usually crowd. Election years bring out droves of political supporters and undecided to listen to the candidates, issues, and other hot topics. This year was absent of the political drama of elections but still hot from the serious debate within the state’s lines. This platform gives elected officials and hopefuls the opportunity to address a gathering of the citizens of the state of Mississippi and express their vision for Mississippi. The stage found a past hopeful, now current Lt. Governor Tate Reeves, discussing his work so far in the Mississippi Legislature. His leadership in the Mississippi legislature is being described as “tater tot.” Reeves defend that label by saying “he was fighting the status quo for the average Mississippian.”
Other political figures spoke at this hallowed stage such as MS House Speaker, Philip Gunn and Governor Phil Bryant. MS Attorney General. Jim Hood, the only Democrat in state elected office, spoke to his hopes that the state Supreme Court would clear an ongoing debate in the state border. In this debate on guns, sides have been picked and not many Mississippians are undecided on this issue. The state of Mississippi is become a hot battleground for the country’s 2nd Amendment debate. The state’s current battle is over its recent Concealed and Carry Law. The state already has Castle/Stand Your Ground laws on the books. Much like Florida, these laws allow citizens to use necessary force in the defense of their property and person. These laws were in the backdrop of the recent Trayvon Martin case in Florida. The Trayvon Martin returned a not guilty verdict for George Zimmerman.This new Concealed and Carry bill takes that previous law to the next level. MS citizens would be able to carry concealed weapons on their person.
The usual prohibitions stand for carrying conceal weapons, they cannot be carried in churches, courthouses, and places that sell alcohol. These are a few of the many restricted places. With the location of the gun manufacturer, TALON Ordinance, looming in January of 2014, the debate over its location has become heated. Hinds County District 5 Supervisor, Kenneth I. Stokes led a demonstration in downtown Jackson, across from the MS Governor’s Mansion and Capitol Building. This rally was against the company relocating to Ridgeland, MS. He argued that this company would be harmful in curbing the rising trends in gun violence. As Jackson being the state’s largest metro area, it would be the first affected by the arrival of firearms in the area. Over the years, the city of Jackson has had problem with gun violence. The existence of this gun company could give would-be criminals easier access to some deadly firearms and assault weapons.
The MS Republican leadership from the Governor seat to the Speaker of the House, all wanted the Hinds County court block on the Carry and Conceal bill overturned. They believed the new gun manufacturer would bring much need jobs to the Magnolia State. But does the need for jobs outweigh the possible dangers on the horizon?This fight in the state will continue on for some time. While the usual off-election years have a boring tone, this year was different with big political overtones in the making. Another issue, Mississippians will be witness play out in the state legislature and courts. Hopefully, the outcome will benefit the citizens of the state of Mississippi, but politics usually change that process for the worse. On the heels of the Travyon Martin case, any gun laws nationwide will face obvious scrutiny and battle.