Some law enforcement officials in the state are voicing their opinions about the Hinds County judge trying to stop the new open-carry law. This includes Marion County Sheriff Berkley Hall, Columbia Police Chief Clint McMurry and Lawrence County Sheriff Joel Thames.
Sheriff Thames wrote on the Lawrence County Sheriff's Facebook page "I too support our State's Constitution. I agree that the Hinds County Circuit Court has NO JURISDICTION over my county. My stand is, ‘OPEN CARRY IS LEGAL IN LAWRENCE COUNTY, MS.'"
"The issue I have and other sheriffs have is that we already have an open-carry law in Mississippi," explains Sheriff Thames.
He says until something happens, his deputies will continue to allow residents to publicize they have a gun within his jurisdiction.
"I think that's why our country survived 237 years is because of the right to bear arms," continues Sheriff Thames.
He disputes Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler-Smith's stance that the new open-carry law endangers the lives of law enforcement.
"I've been sheriff for 13 years and before that I was a wildlife officer for 15 years. Everybody I dealt with who had a firearm never had a problem," recalls Sheriff Thames.
He adds his deputies are trained to be alert and cautious at all times.
"Even prior to this they've been trained to look for weapons. You always try to expect the unexpected," Sheriff Thames tells News Channel 12.
Sheriff Thames says he believes having the right to bear arms has also helped deter crime nationwide.
"Common sense is if they know weapons are in the house they're likely to go somewhere else," expresses Sheriff Thames.
He says if Judge Winston Kidd rules that the state's new open-carry law endangers the lives of members of law enforcement, he hopes the State Supreme Court will step in and allow the law to continue as is.
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