In this vein, the mayor of Jackson, Mississippi, has banned open carry in his city during an emergency order that is set to expire April 30th.
The ban on open carry was largely a flex of authority as it was only instituted four days ago on April 26th, but Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba is hoping to leverage this stunt into a statewide prohibition.
“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 Statutes 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,” he said in a statement published to Youtube (see video above).
“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,” he continued. “Repeal the Open Carry law which makes it impossible for law enforcement to root out illegal firearms on our streets.”
It didn’t take long for state officials to dash his hopes. In a strongly-worded letter sent on Sunday, State Attorney General Lynn Fitch called for him to “immediately” pull the ban.
“Mississippians enjoy the right to lawfully open carry in all of Mississippi’s 82 counties and in every municipality within the State. The City of Jackson is no exception. The City lacks statutory authority to suspend a state statute or constitutional provision. Accordingly, I ask that you rescind the Order immediately,” wrote Fitch.
“I take seriously my obligation to protect Mississippians’ constitutional rights, and I will take every action available to my office to ensure these rights are not infringed upon,” Fitch added.
Making matters worse for Mayor Lumumba, he is now facing a lawsuit filed in federal court that accuses him of exploiting “the present health crisis” to infringe on the 2A rights of law-abiding citizens.
The complaint was filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Mississippi by the Mississippi Justice Institute on behalf of state Rep. Dana Criswell (R-Olive Branch).
Rep. Dana Criswell said he was “shocked” by the mayor’s swipe at one’s right to openly bear arms.
“As a citizen of the great state of Mississippi who has regular business in our capital city of Jackson, I was shocked by the recent announcement by Mayor Lumumba,” Criswell said in a press release.
“I take the protection of myself and my family very seriously and believe deeply in the constitutional right to keep and bear arms,” he continued. “The mayor’s attempt to disarm me and deny me the ability of self-defense puts me and my family in danger any time we are in Jackson.”
While the temporary ban is set to expire (or has already expired by the time you read this), that’s really not the point. What’s distressing is that politicians continue to use this crisis to attack 2A rights.
Between the forced closure of gun shops and the suspension of pistol permitting in recent weeks, it’s clear that certain lawmakers have taken that quote to heart — “never let a crisis go to waste” — and will use this pandemic to push their anti-gun agenda.