A federal court has ordered the City of Jackson to never again act on its own to restrict the right to openly carry a firearm.
The Order was issued as a Consent Decree after the Mississippi Justice Institute, a non-profit constitutional litigation center and the legal arm of the Mississippi Center for Public Policy, filed a lawsuit against the city and Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba on behalf of State Rep. Dana Criswell. The lawsuit challenged the legality of an executive order from Lumumba attempting to temporarily ban the open carry of firearms because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Lumumba allowed his open carry ban to expire on April 30, 2020, three days after the lawsuit was filed. The court’s Order prevents such bans in the future and was agreed to by the parties involved in the lawsuit.
“We are very happy with the outcome of this case,” said MJI director Aaron Rice. “No mayor or other elected official in Jackson will ever again be able to act on their own to take away the right to openly carry a firearm in the city of Jackson, for any reason. We hope city officials can find a way to effectively address violent crime in Jackson, but they must do so in a way that respects the right of individuals to protect themselves.”
Under the Consent Decree, the city cannot take any action that would directly or indirectly prohibit, restrict, or inhibit the open carry of firearms in the city unless Mississippi’s statutes and constitutional law are first changed to allow for that.
“I am very glad to know that this will never happen again in the future,” said Criswell. “Mississippians should be able to protect themselves no matter what city they are in.”
“I am pleased at the result in this case,” said MJI volunteer attorney Sterling Kidd. “I greatly appreciate the opportunity to serve as co-counsel in protecting and vindicating this fundamental right.”
The Consent Decree was issued by Chief U.S. District Judge Daniel P. Jordan, III in U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Mississippi on June 12, 2020. It went into effect immediately.
Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba let his order expire on April 30 without further action, ending the unconstitutional order.
The city of Jackson cannot restrict your right to openly carry a firearm, whether we are under an emergency order or not.
The Mississippi Justice Institute, a non-profit constitutional litigation center and the legal arm of the Mississippi Center for Public Policy, has filed a lawsuit against this unconstitutional and illegal action on behalf of State Rep. Dana Criswell.
On Saturday, Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba signed an executive order attempting to override constitutional rights and state law in order to prohibit open carry in the city.
“A serious pandemic is not an opportunity for unconstitutional virtue signaling by grandstanding politicians,” said Aaron Rice, the Director of the Mississippi Justice Institute. “Mayor Lumumba has exploited the present public health crisis as a pretext to target law abiding people who are exercising their constitutional rights.”
“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,” said Criswell. “I take the protection of myself and my family very seriously and believe deeply in the constitutional right to keep and bear arms. The mayor’s attempt to disarm me and deny me the ability of self-defense puts me and my family in danger anytime we are in Jackson.”
The U.S. Constitution and the Mississippi Constitution protect the right to openly carry firearms in public for self-defense, as do Mississippi statutes. A mayor does not have the authority to override these constitutional rights, even during a state of emergency.
“I have been honored to serve as an MCPP Contributing Fellow, and this lawsuit is precisely the type of important work that drew me to volunteer with MCPP and MJI in the first place,” said MJI volunteer attorney, Sterling Kidd. “The government must respect all citizens’ Constitutional right to protect themselves; arguably, a time of crisis is when that right is most important.”
“While we are deeply saddened by the horrific crimes that have occurred in Jackson, those crimes have nothing to do with the current public health crisis or the right to openly carry a firearm in public for self-defense,” said Rice. “Mississippians should know that when the government tries to take away your constitutional rights, MJI will always be in your corner to help you fight back.”
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Mississippi.