Fire Zone

March 7, 2016 § 20 Comments

After the  legislature made it legal a couple of years ago to carry firearms in courthouses, except for courtrooms, some judges reacted by extending the protection of the courtroom out into external areas.

Now the legislature is responding with an amendment to HB 571, which has passed the House and is on the way to the Senate. It limits the definition of courtroom to ” … the actual room in which a judicial proceeding occurs, including any jury room, witness room, judge’s chamber, office housing the judge’s staff, or similar room” The law specifically allows firearms in ” … hallways, courtroom entrances, courthouse grounds, lobbies, corridors, or other areas within a courthouse which are generally open to the public for the transaction of business outside of an active judicial proceeding.”

If you agree this is good policy, then you may do nothing and see whether the Senate concurs.

If, however, you wonder what effect this will have on the safety of litigants involved in heated domestic matters who have to wait their turn in the hallways and corridors of our outdated and crowded courthouses, then you might consider contacting your Senator(s).

§ 20 Responses to Fire Zone

  • […] to the Mississippi Legislature’s Bill Status site, HB 571, which we discussed here previously, died in committee on March 22, 2016. The measure would have allowed enhanced-permit […]

  • I feel safer in the courthouses with the law enforcement armed. Anyone else being armed in courthouses (particularly in Courthouses where Chancery proceedings are held) is asking for TROUBLE.

  • This concept of fire arms in our court rooms is terrify, Crazy.

  • Henry Blake says:

    Please do not forget the Mississippi State Constitution which gives the legislature the authority to control concealed carry in this state. Our courthouses are public places built with public money where the people transact their public business. The public is entitled to protect themselves in these public places.

    • thusbloggedanderson says:

      The public already pays armed law enforcement officers to protect the public in courthouses. From whom do we need to protect ourselves, then? Law enforcement?

  • Ben McMurtray says:

    What baffles me is that the principal author of the legislation, Andy Gipson, is an attorney at a prominent firm in Jackson. I simply can’t understand the mindset of an attorney who, upon entering a courthouse before arguing in a contentious matter, thinks to themselves “boy, I really wish the litigants and their friends and family were armed.”

    I’m all for gun rights and own a gun myself, but sheesh. Not in a courthouse. Are you kidding me?

    All that aside, I think Mr. Conner above is on to something. If the judges raise the issue and cite genuine safety concerns, I don’t see the Supreme Court kowtowing to the legislature on this one.

    • thusbloggedanderson says:

      Gipson, like any Marxist or Freudian, has exactly one idea in his head, & it solves/fits everything.

      (Thoreau oncevnoted some of his visitors were “men of one idea, like a hen with one chicken, and that a duckling.”)

    • fsspringer says:

      They say power corrupts. Authoritarianism seems to be the flavor of the day. Some are just feeding the fishes.

  • Ben Conner says:

    Tell the legislature they can eat cake.

    SECTION 144. Judicial power of state. Art. 6,
    The judicial power of the State shall be vested in a Supreme Court
    and such other courts as are provided for in this Constitution.

    SECTION 1. Powers of government. ART. 1
    The powers of the government of the State of Mississippi shall be
    divided into three distinct departments, and each of them confided
    to a separate magistracy, to-wit: those which are legislative to one,
    those which are judicial to another, and those which are executive to
    another.
    SOURCES: 1817 art II § 1; 1832 art II § 1; 1869 art III § 1.
    SECTION 2. Encroachment of power.
    No person or collection of persons, being one or belonging to one
    of these departments, shall exercise any power properly belonging to
    either of the others. The acceptance of an office in either of said
    departments shall, of itself, and at once, vacate any and all offices
    held by the person so accepting in either of the other departments.
    SOURCES: 1817 art II § 2; 1832 art II § 2; 1869 art III § 1.

    “Since Newell v. State, 308 So.2d 71, 76 (Miss.1975), this Court has expressed time and time again its inherent power to make rules that affect the Court.” Pruett v. State, 574 So.2d 1342 (Miss. 1990) at 1351.

    As a corollary of the duty to promulgate rules governing practice in the courts, this Court has the “duty to protect itself, the judiciary and the citizens of this State * * *….) Pruett v. State,k 574 So.2d 1342 (Miss. 1990) at 1352.

    This Court, in Selleck v. S.F. Cockrell Trucking, Inc., 517 So.2d 558, 560 (Miss. 1987), stated as follows:
    In Ladner v. Ladner, 436 So.2d 1366, 1370 (Miss. 1983), we held that even where there is no specific statutory authority for imposing sanctions, courts have an inherent power to protect the integrity of their processes, and may impose sanctions in order to do so.

    • thusbloggedanderson says:

      I was thinking (well, tweeting) on similar lines this morning. MSSC has been jealous of its power, but various statutes have prescribed what is displayed, for ex, in a courtroom. Will they roll over on this?

      Much better (tho less interesting) for justices & judges to call senators & nip this in the bud. Safety first, fascinating constitutional issues afterwards.

  • Meagan Linton says:

    This is an outrage. I have contacted the Senators who represent Lauderdale County…

  • thusbloggedanderson says:

    I wish I knew why our legislators want us dead.

  • L.A.MacDonald says:

    The Courtrooms of MS just became the “OK Corrals”. Emotions run very high during these hearings/discussion adding hand-guns to the mix is just asking for trouble. Was this bill really though out – who did author this bill?

  • D.L. Graves says:

    Damn damn damn! I recently relocated to Natchez so I googled my Senators and Representatives. Cochran, Wicker, and Harper. Do you think it will do a lick of good to contact them? Any one of them could have authored that bill. Actually who DID author the bill?

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