Mississippi state Rep. Dana Criswell, a Republican, filed a lawsuit against Jackson over its temporary ban on open carry within the city limits.
He told the “Todd Starnes Radio Show” Tuesday that the state’s constitution protects its citizens’ right to open carry in the state for self-defense. Local reports said Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba signed the executive order on the power he is given under the emergency statutes due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Criswell said that citizens across the U.S. have been doing their best to accept coronavirus-inspired mandates, but he said it makes him angry when he sees politicians taking advantage of the general goodwill for a blatant power grab.
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Criswell said that there seems to be a trend in Mississippi where elected officials run for office on the platform of: “I believe in the Second Amendment, but.”
“I want to hold them accountable to the people in this state,” he said. “Because the people in the state believe in the right to self-defense.”
The lawsuit was filed by the Mississippi Justice Institute on behalf of Criswell, a federally licensed firearms dealer, according to the Clarion-Ledger.
“I take the protection of myself and my family very seriously and believe deeply in the constitutional right to keep and bear arms,” he said in a news release, according to the paper. “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.”
Lumumba, a Democrat, said he took action after the deaths of two children in under 10 days. He said the temporary ban is not intended to punish law-abiding residents.
“For too long, gun violence has plagued our city and disproportionately affected black and brown communities here in Jackson and nationwide,” he said.
The paper reported that Lumumba pointed to a statute that gives him the “discretion in the interest of public safety and welfare to issue such orders that are necessary for the protection of life and property.”
Lynn Fitch, the state’s attorney general, reportedly told the city to rescind the ban.
Fitch, according to the Ledger, said, “cities can’t usurp the authority of the state’s elected Legislature and violate the constitutional rights of the people. I support the Second Amendment and will enforce the laws of this state.”