MERIDIAN — The Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors has voted to rescind restrictions on individuals from taking firearms into the county annex building.
The vote was taken at the recommendation of board attorney Lee Thaggard.
Several cities and counties around Mississippi have done the same thing. They have been advised that such bans are in conflict with two state laws and could leave local officials individually liable for damages.
A 2012 state law allows people with enhanced firearms permits, which require eight hours of state-certified training, to carry a concealed handgun in a number of places off limits to those with regular permits. A 2013 law established the legality of open carry in Mississippi.
The 2014 law allows citizens to sue local officials personally who enact or enforce gun bans that conflict with state law.
“Well, it’s a law, and we have to abide by the law,” said Lauderdale Supervisor Wayman Newell. “I mean, if somebody gets upset enough to draw a gun, or go get a gun, hopefully, if you don’t have it on you by the time you get home, you would have calmed down enough that you wouldn’t want to use it. But if you’ve got it on your side, it’s right there. I just think that it’s a bad law.”
In 2013, Sheriff Billy Sollie asked supervisors to adopt or include memos into the record prohibiting firearms at the county annex, the courthouse and the juvenile center.
“We are going to adhere to the law, whatever the law is. If something ill happens because of the law, the Legislature is going to have to deal with the consequences of that,” Sollie said.