Hattiesburg police answer questions for merchants on open carry law
HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) -
Major Billy Lane from the Hattiesburg Police Department met with local merchants Friday to talk about the new open carry law.
The law goes into effect Monday and many of the merchants were looking for answers on how they should keep people with firearms from coming into their business. Lane told them it's their right as property owners to restrict firearms from being brought into their business. He also talked about how they should deal with the situation if it should arise.
"If they do not want a person with a firearm in their business they have the right to ask that person to leave or post appropriate signage," said Lane. "It's not to say they don't want their business, it just means they don't want firearms."
Forrest County District Attorney Patricia Burchell also attended the meeting. She told the gathering That the law says people have the right to openly carry guns and if they don't want them in their business they should take the appropriate steps like posting signs. Burchell says she doesn't anticipate any problems once the law goes into effect.
"We're hopeful there will be a smooth transition and that everything will be fine," said Burchell. "Knowledge is what everyone needs. They just need information so they can make decisions that they need to make."
Many of the merchants said they would post signs forbidding firearms. Some expressed concerns about their employees approaching someone with a gun and asking them to leave.