The Mississippi Department of Public Safety posted this photo of the line of people waiting for a firearms permit Tuesday on their Facebook page. (Source: Facebook)
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -
By this time next week, Mississippians may no longer have access to public records identifying the private information of people with permits to carry a concealed weapon. Legislation in favor of this idea quickly passed through the House of Representatives with a 101 to 18 vote. The bill is now headed to the Senate.
It's your American right to defend yourself with a firearm. Now, Mississippi lawmakers want to help protect many licensed gun owners further, by keeping their private information private.
"Recently a Tupelo newspaper requested the public records of everybody in Lee County who has a conceal carry permit," said Republican Senator Will Longwitz (District 25).
The request came several weeks after a New York paper published the names and addresses of people with permits to carry a concealed weapon. Shortly after the publication, its reported that some of those people were burglarized. Senator Longwitz wants to help protect the privacy of all Mississippians who have permits to carry a concealed weapon.
"I've visited with a young mother whose husband is out of town a lot who wants to carry a weapon to protect herself and her children when he's not there, but she doesn't want people to know that she has valuables in her home," the Senator explained.
Democratic Representative David Myers (District 25) is one of the 18 Representatives who voted no for the proposed legislation.
"I think people have the right to know that their neighbor, you know, has the right to carry a concealed weapon," said Representative Myers.
Every five years Mississippi gun holders must re-new their permit and get a new background check. Within those five years, Representative Myers fears some people could get diagnosed with mental illness and slip through the cracks.
"You're supposed to lose your gun license; that's not happening," said Representative Myers.
Senator Longwitz said the Senate hopes to pass legislation that'll report mental disability court findings to the National Crime Database to weed out those who shouldn't have guns.
The Senator said the Senate should receive the proposed legislation as early as Thursday. With the Senate's approval, the bill could be on the Governor's desk for a signature by Monday. Governor Bryant said he does plan to sign the bill into law.
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