Jackson mayor temporarily suspends open carry law during COVID-19

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JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV)- Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba has signed an executive order temporarily suspending open carry for Jackson residents in an effort to lessen the occurrence of violent crimes during the COVID-19 civil emergency.

The result of Lumumba’s decision comes after an 11-year-old and a 5-year old were killed one week apart due to gun violence in the city.

In a video released Friday, Mayor Lumumba called for a repeal of Mississippi’s Open Carry Law, citing that the law prevents community members from feeling safe and interferes with law enforcement’s ability to remove illegal guns.

Many of these killings could have been avoided if we had state law that enabled us to better control the presence of firearms on our streets.” said Lumumba. “Prior to the open carry law when Jackson officers saw a gun in plain view it gave them the probable cause to cease the weapon and determine whether it was an illegal weapon or not. The open carry law not only provides protection to individuals who are armed with illegal weapons, it creates an atmosphere of fear and intimidation in the community. We cannot continue to turn a blind eye to the fact that the open carry law has led an increase in gun violence into our communities.

Lumumba said that the ban will be in effect for a short period of time and has called on the support of state and local leaders and all citizens to sign this petition to repeal the open carry law.

“If we are sincere in our hope for better outcomes and a brighter future for our youth, we must
be moved to action. It is this call to action that has led to my decision to issue an Executive
Order suspending Open Carry law during the COVID-19 civil emergency. Under State Statute
45-17-7(e), I am given the discretion in the interest of public safety and welfare to issue such
orders that are necessary for the protection of life and property.
In this moment of great distress and economic tension it is important that we eliminate the ability for illegal weapons to inflict irreparable harm on our City. I want to make it clear that I have no principal disagreement with the Second Amendment right to bear arms, but all rights must be balanced by reasonable regulations. A right that protects illegal guns and puts more people in fear, a right that escalates conflict beyond a point of resolution, and a right thatinterferes with another person’s right to live is not a legitimate right to be maintained. Your right to swing ends at my nose. While this order will only be in effect for a short period of time, I am calling on all Jackson residents, and all state and local leaders to act in the interest of our innocent children. Repeal the Open Carry law which makes it impossible for law enforcement to root out illegal firearms on our streets. How many babies do we have to bury to appease someone’s desire to open carry?”

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