USM president concerned over possibility of MS gun bill

USM president concerned over possibility of MS gun bill
Source: WDAM.

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The debate over who can carry a gun in Mississippi and where continues in Jackson. Some university officials and security experts are concerned over the impact of one proposed bill.

House Bill 1083 would allow people to sue over gun-carry bans on public property, specifically enhanced concealed carry permit holders. The bill passed in the house last week and has moved to the senate for consideration.

"I think it's worrisome," said Dr. Lou Marciani, Director of the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety & Security at The University of Southern Mississippi.

NCS4 is the nation's only research center devoted to the study and practice of safety and security in spectator sports. The organization has worked with large venues, the Super Bowl and even the Olympics.

"We have enough problems, as I would say, in the area of safety and security. I'd say we are very concerned," Marciani said.

HB1083 would void rules at public places, like universities and courthouses, that limit where permit holders can carry. Marciani said that could raise a number of questions.

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"Do we register the guns? How do we tag the guns? What responsibility do these people have to the environment? What are their restrictions as a gun-carrying person in the stadium?" Marciani asked.

In a statement, USM President Dr. Rodney Bennett said he traveled to Jackson to express his concern over the policy change.

On February 7, 2018, the Mississippi House of Representatives passed House Bill 1083, which, if signed into law, would authorize any person who has an enhanced firearms license to carry such firearm on public property. This would result in a policy change, which would disallow public agencies from maintaining any policies that designate spaces where firearms are prohibited. Earlier this week, I traveled to Jackson to speak with members of the legislature to share my concerns about this type of policy change.

"It's going to create, in the college and pros and the high schools, an issue we'll have to address, if that's what it is," said Marciani.