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Mississippi Gun Control Laws

Gun control laws remain a controversial topic in the United States. Gun owners point to the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which protects the right to bear arms. Both state and federal governments struggle with the need to balance gun rights with the public's right to be free of gun violence. 

Gun laws identify what types of guns should be illegal, if any, and what conduct or behavior by a person can cause them to lose the right to possess or own firearms.

Advocates for gun safety believe Mississippi has weak gun control laws. The state has not adopted many regulations beyond federal law requirements. Under Mississippi law, you do not need a purchase permit to buy a gun or a state permit to carry one concealed on your person under most circumstances.

Federal Gun Laws

Any understanding of federal gun laws begins with the Second Amendment, which states "a well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed." 

In recent years, the U.S. Supreme Court has interpreted this language to provide an individual's right to keep and carry guns for self-defense and other lawful reasons. This view of a constitutional right to arms has led to closer scrutiny of state and federal firearms regulation.

Key federal gun laws derive from Congress' ability to regulate interstate commerce in firearms. In 1934, Congress passed the National Firearms Act (NFA) to regulate and tax manufacturers, owners, and purchasers of certain dangerous weapons that were used by organized crime. 

In 1968, Congress updated the NFA when it passed the Gun Control Act. It expanded its licensing of firearms dealers and categories of those who were prohibited from possessing guns. It later set up the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to help prevent guns from falling into the wrong hands. 

If you purchase a firearm from a licensed federal dealer, the gun won't be delivered until the completion of a criminal background check that shows that the purchaser is not in a prohibited category.

Mississippi Gun Laws

Mississippi law does not close the background check loophole. State law does not require that private sales and transfers of firearms occur via a licensed dealer with a background check. 

Unlike some other states, there is no waiting period between the purchase of a firearm and when delivery takes place. Mississippi does not ban assault weapons or large-capacity magazines of ammunition. 

There is no minimum age to own or possess a rifle or shotgun. You must be at least 18 years old to own or possess a handgun under most circumstances.

In 2016, the state adopted a permitless carry law. This law allows a person 21 years of age or older to carry a concealed pistol, revolver, or stun gun on their person without first obtaining a permit and passing a background check as long as they are not prohibited under state or federal law. 

In Mississippi, concealed means hidden or obscured from common observation. If a person carries a handgun in a sheath, belt holster, shoulder holster, or case that is partially visible, the law does not view that as concealed. 

You also do not need a license or permit to carry a firearm on your person at your dwelling, place of business, or in your motor vehicle.

The Mississippi Department of Public Safety maintains a concealed/enhanced carry permit process for those permit-holders who seek reciprocity to carry a concealed handgun in another state. Applicants must pass a criminal background check, provide their fingerprints, and pay a license fee. 

Enhanced permit holders must complete an approved firearms training course. Those with an enhanced permit can also carry concealed in certain areas where firearms are prohibited for the general public. 

Members of the Armed Forces, active law enforcement, and honorably retired law enforcement officers are granted an exemption from the permit law. Mississippi is a shall-issue state, meaning that if you meet the objective criteria and pass a background check, the state must issue the permit. Details on eligibility for a firearm permit appear in the table below.

Certain locations remain off-limits for firearms in the state. These include:

  • A place of nuisance (where more than one act of lewdness, prostitution, or illegal drug activity occurs)
  • A police, sheriff, or highway patrol station
  • Prisons, jails, detention facilities
  • Courthouse or courtroom except for the judge or persons authorized by the judge
  • Polling places
  • Meeting places of a governing body, including the Legislature and its committees
  • School and college facilities, unless they are used for authorized firearm-related activity
  • School, college, or professional athletic events not related to firearms
  • Parts of establishments that are primarily involved with dispensing alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises
  • Passenger terminal of an airport
  • Designated facilities for those with intellectual disability or illness
  • Churches and other places of worship
  • Places where the entity or person in charge has placed written notice that carrying a pistol or revolver is prohibited
  • Parades or demonstrations that require a permit
  • Locations where firearms are prohibited under federal law

However, those holding an enhanced concealed carry permit may carry a firearm in all the above locations, with a few exceptions. Enhanced permit holders cannot carry in:

  • A courtroom during a judicial proceeding or as otherwise prohibited by the judge.
  • A place of nuisance
  • A police, highway patrol, or sheriff's station
  • A detention facility, prison, or jail
  • A privately owned place where the owner or person in charge bans firearms

Mississippi has also enacted a preemption law that prevents counties and cities from passing ordinances stricter than state laws regulating possession, carrying, transportation, sale, transfer, or ownership of firearms, ammunition, or their components. 

This law has exemptions that allow local governments to regulate the discharge of firearms in city or county limits and the carrying of firearms in public parks, riots, political rallies, parades, and other situations.

Overview of Mississippi Gun Laws

The following table outlines the main gun control laws in Mississippi.

Relevant Mississippi Gun Control Statutes (Laws)

Mississippi Code Annotated (Miss. Code Ann.)Title 45, Chapter 9, Weapons Title 97, Chapter 37, Weapons and Explosives

Illegal Arms

It's illegal to own the following firearms in Mississippi:

  • Silencer or muffler for guns
  • Toy pistols that can fire or make an explosion (cap pistols are excepted)

Waiting Period

There is no waiting period to purchase a gun in Mississippi.

Who May Not Own

Several defined groups can't legally own firearms in Mississippi, including:

  • People with a felony conviction unless they have certificates of rehabilitation obtained through a court petition and expungement process
  • Individuals who are chronically intoxicated
  • People who have voluntarily or involuntarily been committed to mental health facilities unless recovered for at least five years
  • Children and youth under 18 years old cannot own or possess handguns (limited exceptions)
  • Those prohibited under federal law (see 18 USC Section 922g)

License Required?

No, you don't need a license to purchase a firearm in Mississippi.

Concealed Carry License Required?

No. You don't need a license or permit to carry a concealed firearm as long as you:

  • Are not engaged in a criminal activity
  • Are not prohibited from owning a firearm under federal and state law
  • Are not carrying the firearm in prohibited places

Open Carried Allowed?

Yes. Open carry is allowed in Mississippi.

Eligibility for a Concealed Carry License

Unless you fall into an exempt category, to be eligible for a regular concealed carry license, you must:

  • Be a resident of the state (certain exceptions apply)
  • Be 21 years of age or older, or at least 18 years of age if in the Armed Forces, National Guard, or reserve stationed in the state and hold a valid Mississippi driver's license or identification card, or a valid and current tribal identification card
  • Desire a legal means to carry a firearm to defend yourself
  • Not suffer from a physical infirmity that prevents safe handling of a firearm
  • Not be convicted of a felony in Mississippi or elsewhere
  • Not be adjudicated mentally incompetent, or it has been five years since the court restored your mental capacity
  • Not be a chronic or habitual user of alcohol or controlled substances to the extent that your normal faculties are impaired
  • Not be voluntarily or involuntarily committed to a mental institution or mental health treatment facility, unless you have a certificate from a psychiatrist who is licensed in Mississippi stating that you have not suffered from disability for five years
  • Not have any imposition of sentence suspended or adjudication of guilt withheld on any felony unless it has been three years since any conditions set by the court have been fulfilled
  • Not be a fugitive from justice
  • Not be prohibited from owning a firearm under federal law
The Department of Public Safety can also deny a permit for those having a conviction for a misdemeanor crime of violence in the last three years.

Machine Gun Laws

Mississippi does not have state law regulations pertaining to machine guns or automatic weapons. You can possess a machine gun if you register it in compliance with federal law.

Penalties for Illegal Firearm Possession

  • Possessing a firearm with a felony conviction is a felony, punishable by one to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.
  • Selling, giving, or lending a firearm to a minor or an intoxicated person is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.
  • Parents who unlawfully permit their child to carry a concealed weapon commit a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.
  • Unlawful possession of a silencer is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail, a fine of up to $500, or both.
  • Using or displaying a firearm while committing a felony may lead to a firearm enhancement, punishable by a consecutive sentence of five years. If a convicted felon uses or displays a firearm while committing a new felony, the consecutive sentence enhancement increases to 10 years.

Penalties for Illegal Possession on or Near School Grounds

Unlawful carrying of a firearm on education property is a felony, punishable by up to three years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000, or both. Education property includes a public or private school building, bus, campus, grounds, recreation area, or field. It includes colleges and universities.

Red Flag Law?


Universal Background Checks?


Stand Your Ground Law?

Yes. Mississippi law permits a person who is not the initial aggressor and not engaged in unlawful activity to remain in a place they have the right to be to stand their ground in self-defense. They can use deadly force as appropriate with no duty to retreat.

Note: State laws are subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts that include federal decisions, ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the status of any state law(s) you are reviewing.

Research the Law

Related Resources

If You Still Have Questions, Ask a Mississippi Attorney for Help

If you have questions about gun rights or face gun charges, you should consider contacting a Mississippi criminal defense lawyer. However, if you've been harmed by a gun, such as with a misfire or otherwise, you can check with a product liability lawyer about your options.

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