Hernando city officials are reviewing a draft version of an update of the city's proposed new firearms ordinance, which differs slightly in the language of firearms ordinances in other neighboring cities.
City Attorney Kenneth Stockton explained that the city's firearms ordinance had been in need of updating for some time since it was outdated.
"To put it bluntly, a lot of this 1991 ordinance would be difficult to enforce," Stockton told aldermen and Mayor Tom Ferguson. Stockton added the draft ordinance is "better than what we had."
Stockton said firearms use and discharge of weapons has been expanded in the years since the 1991 ordinance which was in accordance with 1991 statutes at the time.
In 1991, no firearms could be discharged within the city limits.
"This is actually an expansion of gun owners' rights in the City of Hernando," Stockton said.
The draft ordinance of the city's updated forearms ordinance has been tabled until the board's next meeting on March 20.
"The ordinance the city has now is obsolete and needs to be done away with," Stockton said.
Under a draft of the new ordinance, "it shall be unlawful for any person to discharge a firearm of any description anywhere within the city limits of Hernando, except:
• By a duly authorized law enforcement officer or animal control officer when necessary in the performance of their official duties; or by a person in the performance of military duties under military regulations.
• By a person acting in actual self defense or for the purpose of protecting life or property, subject to state law.
• Or by a person engaged lawful hunting in a hunting area as defined by this ordinance, using permitted firearms as defined by this ordinance.
• Or by a person engaged in lawful participation at a facility properly licensed to conduct a firearms sporting activity, including but not limited to: skeet shooting, trap shooting, paint-ball events, and similar activities.
• Or by a person or entity engaged in a sporting activity, including but not limited to: skeet shooting, trap shooting, t-ball events or any other similar type events that is conducted on property meeting the land requirements as set forth herein …"
• By a person engaged in lawful participation at a facility properly licensed for the conduct of firearms training, education, or qualification activities.
The Hernando Police Department would be in charge of enforcing the ordinance.
Any person guilty of violating any provision of this ordinance shall be fined not more than $500 for each violation and/or subject to a maximum of six months in the county jail.
(Not included in this article are certain exceptions contained in the ordinance, which is in keeping with current state law. For those exceptions and other applicable regulations and statutes visit Mississippi Code Annotated Section 45-9-1.)
Robert Lee Long is Community Editor of the DeSoto Times-Tribune. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 662-429-6397, Ext. 252.