JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – After recent mass shootings at schools across the United States, the Mississippi Board of Education decided school districts in the state can make their own rules for letting armed people with enhanced carry licenses onto school property.
On Thursday, July 21, the Board voted to update the 1990 internal policy that prohibited anyone other than law enforcement from carrying guns on public school campuses.
According to the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE), the Board’s vote removed language from a policy that conflicted with the state’s enhanced conceal carry laws. They said the old policy “predates any notable school shootings.”
According to Mississippi law, having a weapon on school premises without an enhanced carry license could result in a felony charge. Enhanced licenses require training and allow gun owners to carry in several places where those with basic permits cannot.
“In reviewing their current policies, local school districts should consult with their board attorney to ensure compliance with federal and state law,” MDE leaders said in a statement.
According to Everytown for Gun Safety, Mississippi is one of seven states that allows permit holders to be admitted onto school premises with a gun.
Erich Pratt, senior vice president with Gun Owners of America, said the group fully supports policies to allow willing teachers, administrators and support staff to carry concealed weapons on school campuses.
“Not only will they serve as a concrete deterrent against those who consider acts of evil, but should someone still try to attack a school, these policies will help to neutralize the threat and mitigate any loss of life,” Pratt said.
In June 2022, WJTV 12 News asked teachers about whether they should be armed in schools.
“I do have concerns about the guns getting into the hands of students who may have malicious intent,” said Larranda Cross, a teacher at New Jerusalem Christian School. Cross did say she would do it if there was a mandate.
“I think it would be bad legislation to be honest,” said George Stuart, president of the Jackson Association of Teachers.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.