2002 Regular Session
By: Senator(s) Carlton
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 97-37-7, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REVISE THE LIST OF PERSONS PERMITTED TO CARRY A DEADLY WEAPON WITHOUT A PERMIT; TO REVISE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR OBTAINING A PERMIT; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 97-37-7, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
97-37-7. (1) (a) It shall not be a violation of Section 97-37-1 or any other statute for pistols, firearms or other suitable and appropriate weapons to be carried by duly constituted bank guards, company guards, watchmen, railroad special agents or duly authorized representatives, agents or employees of a patrol service, guard service, or a company engaged in the business of transporting money, securities or other valuables, while actually engaged in the performance of their duties as such, provided that such persons have made a written application and paid a nonrefundable permit fee of One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) to the Department of Public Safety. The permit fee is payable to the department upon renewal every four (4) years. In addition, the companies who have employed such persons must be under bond in a sum of not less than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) for the lawful and faithful performance of their duties, the cost of which bond shall be paid by the employer of such persons; and further provided that such persons have first made written application and obtained an annual permit so to do from the sheriff of the county in which they are employed. Provided, however, that where the duties of any person covered by the provisions of this paragraph (a) may carry him into more than one (1) county, such person may file a bond in the sum of Two Thousand Dollars ($2,000.00) with the Commissioner of Public Safety, for the lawful and faithful performance of his duties, the cost of the bond shall be paid by the employer of such person, and provided further that such person has first made written application with and obtained a permit so to do from the Commissioner of Public Safety, and said permit shall be valid as a statewide permit. Proof of renewal of the bond shall be submitted to the department every four (4) years.
(b) No such permit shall be issued to any person who has ever been convicted of a felony under the laws of this or any other state or of the United States. In order to determine an applicant's eligibility for a permit, the person shall be fingerprinted. If no disqualifying record is identified at the state level, the fingerprints shall be forwarded by the Department of Public Safety to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for a national criminal history record check. The department is hereby authorized to charge a fee which shall include the monetary amounts required by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the department for the national and state criminal history record checks and any necessary costs incurred by the department for the handling and administration of the criminal history background checks. In the event a legible set of fingerprints, as determined by the Department of Public Safety and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, cannot be obtained after three (3) attempts, the department shall determine eligibility based upon a name check by the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol and a Federal Bureau of Investigation name check conducted by the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol at the request of the department.
(c) In the event that a permit is lost or destroyed, the person to whom the permit was issued may obtain a duplicate, or substitute thereof, upon payment of Fifteen Dollars ($15.00) to the Department of Public Safety after furnishing a notarized statement to the department that such permit has been lost or destroyed.
(d) No less than ninety (90) days prior to the expiration date of the permit, the Department of Public Safety shall mail to each permit holder a written notice of the expiration and a renewal form prescribed by the department. The permit holder must renew his permit on or before the expiration date by filing with the department the renewal form, a notarized affidavit stating that the permit holder remains qualified, and a renewal fee of Fifty Dollars ($50.00); provided, however, that honorably retired law enforcement officers shall be exempt from this renewal fee. Renewal of the permit shall be required every four (4) years. The permit shall be renewed upon receipt of the completed renewal application and appropriate payment of fees. Additionally, a permit holder who fails to file a renewal application on or before its expiration date must renew his license by paying a late fee of Fifteen Dollars ($15.00). No permit shall be renewed six (6) months or more after its expiration date, and such permit shall be deemed to be permanently expired. A person whose permit has been permanently expired may reapply for a permit; however, an application and payment of fees must be submitted, and a background investigation shall be conducted pursuant to subsection (1)(b) of this section.
(2) It shall further not be a violation of this or any other statute for pistols, firearms or other suitable and appropriate weapons to be carried by Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks law enforcement officers, investigators employed by the Attorney General, district attorneys, legal assistants to district attorneys, criminal investigators employed by the district attorneys, investigators or probation officers employed by the Department of Corrections, employees of the State Auditor who are authorized by the State Auditor to perform investigative functions, or any deputy fire marshal or investigator employed by the State Fire Marshal, while engaged in the performance of their duties as such, or by fraud investigators with the Department of Human Services, or by judges of the Mississippi Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, circuit, chancery, county and municipal courts. Before any person shall be authorized under this subsection (2) to carry a weapon, he shall complete a weapons training course approved by the Board of Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Training. Before any criminal investigator employed by a district attorney shall be authorized under this section to carry a pistol, firearm or other weapon, he shall have complied with Section 45-6-11 or any training program required for employment as an agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. A law enforcement officer, as defined in Section 45-6-3, shall be authorized to carry weapons in courthouses in performance of his official duties. This section shall in no way interfere with the right of a trial judge to restrict the carrying of firearms in the courtroom.
(3) It shall not be a violation of this or any other statute for pistols, firearms or other suitable and appropriate weapons to be carried by any out-of-state, full-time commissioned law enforcement officer who holds a valid commission card from the appropriate out-of-state law enforcement agency and a photo identification. The provisions of this subsection shall only apply if the state where the out-of-state officer is employed has entered into a reciprocity agreement with the state that allows full-time commissioned law enforcement officers in Mississippi to lawfully carry or possess a weapon in such other states. The Commissioner of Public Safety is authorized to enter into reciprocal agreements with other states to carry out the provisions of this subsection.
(4) All fees collected by the Department of Public Safety pursuant to this section shall be deposited into a special fund hereby created in the State Treasury and shall be used for the implementation and administration of this section. After the close of each fiscal year, the balance in this fund shall be certified to the Legislature and then may be used by the department as directed by the Legislature.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2002.