By: Ashleigh Meyer
Jackson, Mississippi Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba, in an unabashed, unsanctioned power grab, announced on Friday that his citizens’ rights to open carry have been “suspended” for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis.
Lumumba claims his right to take such action comes from Mississippi Statute 45-17-7, which allows chief administrative officers to implement measures that would protect the public during a crisis. One of the measures granted by the statute prohibits the transfer of firearms.
Another measure states that a mayor may “issue such other orders as are necessary for the protection of life and property.” It appears that Mayor Lumumba is using this dangerously vague wording to his advantage. Preemption laws in the state, however, prohibit any mayor from simply overruling state law as it pertains to gun ownership and most other things.
Lumumba, an endorser of Bernie Sanders and a favorite of the political left, won the city’s general election with 93 percent of the vote. He has been called a radical by some, and not without good cause, as he promised to radicalize the city of Jackson shortly after his election. Lumumba participated in a video-based Jackson City town hall meeting on Sunday, during which he provided a somewhat incoherent justification for the suspension of Second Amendment rights.
“The aim of the city is not to take away the lawfully possessed weapons that the majority of our residents have,” claimed Lumumba. “The issue that we have in the city of Jackson is that of illegal weapons. How this relates to the open carry law is that when a gun is in plain view, and officers see that gun, they often have information that leads them to believe that that gun may be illegal. Most of the murders that have happened in the city of Jackson have been achieved by weapons that are not legally registered, or they are in possession of someone who is not the registered owner of that firearm.”
Okay… but the executive order prohibits legal firearms owners from exercising their rights. How this order solves his problem (and what exactly his problem is) remains unclear, along with this information that Jackson police seem to mysteriously have upon spotting a visible firearm. At any rate, Lumumba attempted to reassure the public that he is a supporter of the Second Amendment, and the suspension is temporary.
In the interim, though, Lumumba is urging Mississippi legislators to overturn the state’s open carry laws. He also made the troubling statement during a Friday video address that, “All rights must be balanced by reasonable regulations.”
It is yet to be seen what Mayor Lumumba deems “reasonable.”
Ashleigh Meyer is a professional writer and Conservative political journalist from rural VIrginia.