Mississippi generally prohibits people from carrying, whether openly or concealed, any firearm on “educational property,”1 which is defined to include any public or private school building or bus, public or private school campus, grounds, recreational area, athletic field, or other property owned, used or operated by any local school board, school, college or university board of trustees, or directors for the administration of any public or private educational institution or during a school-related activity.2 However, state law provides exceptions to this general restriction, including for:
- Possession of a firearm within a motor vehicle by a person who is not a student, if the person does not brandish, exhibit or display the firearm in any careless, angry or threatening manner;
- A firearm used solely for educational or school-sanctioned ceremonial purposes, or used in a school-approved program conducted under the supervision of an adult whose supervision has been approved by the school authority; and
- Competitors while participating in organized shooting events.3
Mississippi also generally prohibits most concealed carry licensees from possessing a concealed handgun in any:
- Elementary or secondary school facility;
- Any junior college, community college, college or university facility unless for the purpose of participating in any authorized firearms-related activity; or
- Any school, college or professional athletic event not related to firearms.4
However, persons who have an enhanced concealed carry permit are exempt from this prohibition.5 Applicants must be over age 21, pass a background check and have taken a voluntary course on the safe handling and use of firearms by a certified instructor to obtain the enhanced permit.6 Despite this exemption for concealed carry permit-holders who have taken a safety training course, private schools may still exercise their right as private property owners to exclude all firearms from their property if they choose.7 Additionally, while public schools, colleges, and universities are generally prohibited from restricting visitors with enhanced concealed carry permits from carrying on public grounds on school grounds, Mississippi’s Attorneys General have issued opinions affirming that these educational institutions may still adopt policies which administratively limit possession of firearms by enrolled students, employees, dormitory residents, etc.8
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- Miss. Code Ann. § 97-37-17(2).
- Miss. Code Ann. § 97-37-17(1)(a).
- Miss. Code Ann. § 97-37-17(6), (7).
- Miss. Code Ann. § 45-9-101(13); see also Miss. Code Ann. § 97-37-17(2).
- See Miss. Code Ann. § 97-37-7(2)(stating that “A person licensed under Section 45-9-101 to carry a concealed pistol, who has voluntarily completed an instructional course in the safe handling and use of firearms offered by an instructor certified by a nationally recognized organization that customarily offers firearms training, or by any other organization approved by the Department of Public Safety, shall also be authorized to carry weapons in . . . any location listed in subsection (13) of Section 45-9-101[,]” which lists, among other locations, any elementary or secondary school facility, and any junior college, community college, college or university facility.”
- Op. Miss. Att’y Gen. No. 2013-00023 (Oct. 1, 2013); 2013 Miss. AG LEXIS 248, *8-9 (“An enhanced permit cannot constitutionally take away the rights of property owners to exclude persons from their property if that is their wish. …Therefore, private property owners, including… private schools…may exclude from their premises persons carrying weapons.”).
- Id.; Op. Miss. Att’y Gen., answer to Question No. 4 (Jan. 5, 2012), at https://handgunlaw.us/documents/agopinions/MSAGOpinionOnCarryOnCampusWithEndorsement.pdf.