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Mississippi Code : Crimes
 

97-37-1. Deadly weapons; carrying while concealed; use or attempt to use; penalties.

(1)  Except as otherwise provided in Section 45-9-101, any person who carries, concealed in whole or in part, any bowie knife, dirk knife, butcher knife, switchblade knife, metallic knuckles, blackjack, slingshot, pistol, revolver, or any rifle with a barrel of less than sixteen (16) inches in length, or any shotgun with a barrel of less than eighteen (18) inches in length, machine gun or any fully automatic firearm or deadly weapon, or any muffler or silencer for any firearm, whether or not it is accompanied by a firearm, or uses or attempts to use against another person any imitation firearm, shall upon conviction be punished as follows:  
 
(a) By a fine of not less than One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) nor more than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00), or by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than six (6) months, or both, in the discretion of the court, for the first conviction under this section.  
 
(b) By a fine of not less than One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) nor more than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00), and imprisonment in the county jail for not less than thirty (30) days nor more than six (6) months, for the second conviction under this section.  

(c) By imprisonment in the State Penitentiary for not less than one (1) year nor more than five (5) years, for the third or more convictions under this section.  

(d) By imprisonment in the State Penitentiary for not less than one (1) year nor more than five (5) years for any person previously convicted of any felony who is convicted under this section.  

(2)  It shall not be a violation of this section for any person over the age of eighteen (18) years to carry a firearm or deadly weapon concealed in whole or in part within the confines of his own home or his place of business, or any real property associated with his home or business or within any motor vehicle.  
 
(3)  It shall not be a violation of this section for any person to carry a firearm or deadly weapon concealed in whole or in part if the possessor of the weapon is then engaged in a legitimate weapon-related sports activity or is going to or returning from such activity. For purposes of this subsection, "legitimate weapon-related sports activity" means hunting, fishing, target shooting or any other legal sports activity which normally involves the use of a firearm or other weapon.  

Sources: Codes, 1880, 2985; 1892, 1026; Laws, 1906, 1103; Hemingway's 1917, 829; Laws, 1930, 853; Laws, 1942, 2079; Laws,  1898, p. 86; Laws, 1960, ch. 242, 1; Laws, 1962, ch. 310, 1; Laws, 1991, ch. 609, 4, eff from and after July 1, 1991.

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97-37-5. Unlawful for convicted felon to possess any firearms, or other weapons or devices; penalties; exceptions.

(1)  It shall be unlawful for any person who has been convicted of a felony under the laws of this state, any other state, or of the United States to possess any firearm or any bowie knife, dirk knife, butcher knife, switchblade knife, metallic knuckles, blackjack, or any muffler or silencer for any firearm unless such person has received a pardon for such felony, has received a relief from disability pursuant to Section 925(c) of Title 18 of the U.S. Code, or has received a certificate of rehabilitation pursuant to subsection (3) of this section.  

(2)  Any person violating this section shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00), or committed to the custody of the State Department of Corrections for not more than three (3) years, or both.  

(3)  A person who has been convicted of a felony under the laws of this state may apply to the court in which he was convicted for a certificate of rehabilitation. The court may grant such certificate in its discretion upon a showing to the satisfaction of the court that the applicant has been rehabilitated and has led a useful, productive and law-abiding life since the completion of his sentence and upon the finding of the court that he will not be likely to act in a manner dangerous to public safety.  

Sources: Codes, 1880, 2985; 1892, 1026; Laws, 1906, 1103; Hemingway's 1917, 829; Laws, 1930, 853; Laws, 1942, 2079; Laws,  1898, p. 86; Laws, 1960, ch. 242, 1; Laws, 1962, ch. 310, 1; Laws, 1993, ch. 482, 1, eff from and after July 1, 1993.

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97-37-7. Deadly weapons; persons permitted to carry weapons; bond; permit to carry weapon; grounds for denying application for permit; required weapons training course; reciprocal agreements.

(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 who are not sworn law enforcement officers, 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.  

(b) No 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. 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 shall charge a fee which includes the 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 a minimum of three (3) attempts, the Department of Public Safety 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 Safety Patrol at the request of the Department of Public Safety.  

(c) A person may obtain a duplicate of a lost or destroyed permit upon payment of a Fifteen Dollar ($15.00) replacement fee to the Department of Public Safety, if he furnishes a notarized statement to the department that the permit has been lost or destroyed.  
 
(d) (i) No less than ninety (90) days prior to the expiration date of a permit, the Department of Public Safety shall mail to the permit holder written notice of expiration together with the renewal form prescribed by the department. The permit holder shall renew the 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 the renewal fee of Fifty Dollars ($50.00); provided, however, that honorably retired law enforcement officers shall be exempt from payment of the renewal fee. A permit holder who fails to file a renewal application on or before its expiration date shall pay a late fee of Fifteen Dollars ($15.00).  
 
(ii) Renewal of the permit shall be required every four (4) years. The permit of a qualified renewal applicant shall be renewed upon receipt of the completed renewal application and appropriate payment of fees.  

(iii) A permit cannot be renewed six (6) months or more after its expiration date, and such permit shall be deemed to be permanently expired; the holder may reapply for an original permit as provided in this section.  

(2)  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 Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks law enforcement officers, railroad special agents who are sworn 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 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.  

Sources: Codes, 1880, 2985; 1892, 1026; Laws, 1906, 1103; Hemingway's 1917, 829; Laws, 1930, 853; Laws, 1942, 2079; Laws,  1898, p. 86; Laws, 1960, ch. 242, 1; Laws, 1962, ch. 310, 1; Laws, 1973, ch. 437, 1; Laws, 1974, ch. 323 1; Laws, 1981, ch. 415, 1; Laws, 1986, ch. 372; Laws, 1990, ch. 483, 1; Laws, 1991, ch. 609, 5; Laws,  1995, ch. 534, 1; Laws, 1998, ch. 472, 1; Laws, 2000, ch. 439, 1; Laws, 2001, ch. 566, 2; Laws, 2002, ch. 577, 1, eff from and after July 1, 2002.

 
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97-37-9. Deadly weapons; defenses against indictment for carrying deadly weapon.

Any person indicted or charged for a violation of Section 97-37-1 may show as a defense:  

(a) that he was threatened, and had good and sufficient reason to apprehend a serious attack from any enemy, and that he did so apprehend; or  

(b) that he was traveling and was not a tramp, or was setting out on a journey and was not a tramp; or  

(c) that he was a law enforcement or peace officer in the discharge of his duties; or  

(d) that he was at the time in the discharge of his duties as a mail carrier; or  

(e) that he was at the time engaged in transporting valuables for an express company or bank; or  

(f) that he was a member of the Armed Forces of the United States, National Guard, State Militia, Emergency Management Corps, guard or patrolman in a state or municipal institution while in the performance of his official duties; or  

(g) that he was in lawful pursuit of a felon; or  

(h) that he was lawfully engaged in legitimate sports; or  

(i) that at the time he was a company guard, bank guard, watchman, or other person enumerated in Section 97-37-7, and was then actually engaged in the performance of his duties as such, and then held a valid permit from the sheriff, the commissioner of public safety, or a valid permit issued by the secretary of state prior to May 1, 1974, to carry the weapon; and the burden of proving either of said defenses shall be on the accused.  

Sources: Codes, 1892, 1027; Laws, 1906, 1105; Hemingway's 1917, 831; Laws, 1930, 855; Laws, 1942, 2081; Laws,  1912, ch. 210; Laws, 1960, ch. 242, 2; Laws, 1962, ch. 310, 2; Laws, 1974, ch. 323, 2; Laws, 1980, ch. 491, 26, eff from and after passage (approved May 9, 1980).

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97-37-11. Deadly weapons; dealers to keep record of weapons sold.

Every merchant or dealer or pawnbroker that sells bowie-knives, dirk-knives, pistols, brass or metallic knuckles or slungshots, shall keep a record of all sales of such weapons sold, showing the description of the weapons, the name of the purchaser, and the description of weapons and date of sale. This record to be opened to public inspection at any time to persons desiring to see it. The dealer who violates this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction shall be fined not less than Five Dollars ($5.00) nor more than Twenty-five Dollars ($25.00).  

Sources: Codes, 1906, 1106; Hemingway's 1917, 832; Laws, 1930, 856; Laws, 1942, 2082; Laws, 2002, ch. 429, 1, eff from and after July 1, 2002.

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97-37-13. Deadly weapons; weapons and cartridges not to be given to minor or intoxicated person.

It shall not be lawful for any person to sell, give or lend to any minor under eighteen (18) years of age or person intoxicated, knowing him to be a minor under eighteen (18) years of age or in a state of intoxication, any deadly weapon, or other weapon the carrying of which concealed is prohibited, or pistol cartridge; and, on conviction thereof, he shall be punished by a fine not more than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00), or imprisoned in the county jail not exceeding one (1) year, or both.  

Sources: Codes, 1880, 2986; 1892, 1028; Laws, 1906, 1107; Hemingway's 1917, 833; Laws, 1930, 857; Laws, 1942, 2083; Laws,  1994, ch. 607, 8, eff from and after July 2, 1994.

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97-37-14. Possession of handgun by minor; act of delinquency; exceptions.

(1)  Except as otherwise provided in this section, it is an act of delinquency for any person who has not attained the age of eighteen (18) years knowingly to have any handgun in such person's possession.  
 
[includes exemptions]

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97-37-15. Parent or guardian not to permit minor son to have or carry weapon; penalty.

Any parent, guardian or custodian who shall knowingly suffer or permit any child under the age of eighteen (18) years to have or to own, or to carry concealed, in whole or in part, any weapon the carrying of which concealed is prohibited, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, on conviction,shall be fined not more than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00), and shall be imprisoned not more than six (6) months in the county jail. The provisions of this section shall not apply to a minor who is exempt from the provisions of Section 97-37-14.  

Sources: Codes, 1880, 2987; 1892, 1029; Laws, 1906, 1108; Hemingway's 1917, 834; Laws, 1930, 858; Laws, 1942, 2084; Laws,  1994, ch. 607, 9, eff from and after July 2, 1994.

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97-37-17. Possession of weapons by students; aiding or encouraging.

(1)  The following definitions apply to this section:  

(a) "Educational property" shall mean 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; provided however, that the term "educational property" shall not include any sixteenth section school land or lieu land on which is not located a school building, school campus, recreational area or athletic field.  

(b) "Student" shall mean a person enrolled in a public or private school, college or university, or a person who has been suspended or expelled within the last five (5) years from a public or private school, college or university, whether the person is an adult or a minor.  

(c) "Switchblade knife" shall mean a knife containing a blade or blades which open automatically by the release of a spring or a similar contrivance.  

(d) "Weapon" shall mean any device enumerated in subsection (2) or (4) of this section.  

(2)  It shall be a felony for any person to possess or carry, whether openly or concealed, any gun, rifle, pistol or other firearm of any kind, or any dynamite cartridge, bomb, grenade, mine or powerful explosive on educational property. However, this subsection does not apply to a BB gun, air rifle or air pistol. Any person violating this subsection shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00), or committed to the custody of the State Department of Corrections for not more than three (3) years, or both.  

(3)  It shall be a felony for any person to cause, encourage or aid a minor who is less than eighteen (18) years old to possess or carry, whether openly or concealed, any gun, rifle, pistol or other firearm of any kind, or any dynamite cartridge, bomb, grenade, mine or powerful explosive on educational property. However, this subsection does not apply to a BB gun, air rifle or air pistol. Any person violating this subsection shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00), or committed to the custody of the State Department of Corrections for not more than three (3) years, or both.  

(4)  It shall be a misdemeanor for any person to possess or carry, whether openly or concealed, any BB gun, air rifle, air pistol, bowie knife, dirk, dagger, slingshot, leaded cane, switchblade knife, blackjack, metallic knuckles, razors and razor blades (except solely for personal shaving), and any sharp-pointed or edged instrument except instructional supplies, unaltered nail files and clips and tools used solely for preparation of food, instruction and maintenance on educational property. Any person violating this subsection shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00), or be imprisoned not exceeding six (6) months, or both.  

(5)  It shall be a misdemeanor for any person to cause, encourage or aid a minor who is less than eighteen (18) years old to possess or carry, whether openly or concealed, any BB gun, air rifle, air pistol, bowie knife, dirk, dagger, slingshot, leaded cane, switchblade, knife, blackjack, metallic knuckles, razors and razor blades (except solely for personal shaving) and any sharp-pointed or edged instrument except instructional supplies, unaltered nail files and clips and tools used solely for preparation of food, instruction and maintenance on educational property. Any person violating this subsection shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00), or be imprisoned not exceeding six (6) months, or both.  

(6)  It shall not be a violation of this section for any person to possess or carry, whether openly or concealed, any gun, rifle, pistol or other firearm of any kind on educational property if:  

(a) The person is not a student attending school on any educational property;  
 
(b) The firearm is within a motor vehicle; and  

(c) The person does not brandish, exhibit or display the firearm in any careless, angry or threatening manner.  

(7)  This section shall not apply to:  

(a) A weapon 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;  

(b) Armed forces personnel of the United States, officers and soldiers of the militia and National Guard, law enforcement personnel, any private police employed by an educational institution, State Militia or Emergency Management Corps and any guard or patrolman in a state or municipal institution, when acting in the discharge of their official duties;  

(c) Home schools as defined in the compulsory school attendance law, Section 37-13-91;  

(d) Competitors while participating in organized shooting events;  

(e) Any person as authorized in Section 97-37-7 while in the performance of his official duties;  

(f) Any mail carrier while in the performance of his official duties; or  

(g) Any weapon not prescribed by Section 97-37-1 which is in a motor vehicle under the control of a parent, guardian or custodian, as defined in Section 43-21-105, which is used to bring or pick up a student at a school building, school property or school function.  

(8)  All schools shall post in public view a copy of the provisions of this section.  

Sources: Codes, 1880, 2988; 1892, 1030; Laws, 1906, 1109; Hemingway's 1917, 835; Laws, 1930, 859; Laws, 1942, 2085; Laws,  1994, ch. 607, 1; Laws, 1995, ch. 607, 1, eff from and after July 1, 1995.

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97-37-19. Deadly weapons; exhibiting in rude, angry, or threatening manner.

If any person, having or carrying any dirk, dirk-knife, sword, sword-cane, or any deadly weapon, or other weapon the carrying of which concealed is prohibited, shall, in the presence of three or more persons, exhibit the same in a rude, angry, or threatening manner, not in necessary self-defense, or shall in any manner unlawfully use the same in any fight or quarrel, the person so offending, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined in a sum not exceeding five hundred dollars or be imprisoned in the county jail not exceeding three months, or both. In prosecutions under this section it shall not be necessary for the affidavit or indictment to aver, nor for the state to prove on the trial, that any gun, pistol, or other firearm was charged, loaded, or in condition to be discharged.  

Sources: Codes, Hutchinson's 1848, ch. 64, art. 9(9); 1857, ch. 64, art. 56; 1871, 2699; 1880, 2804; 1892, 1031; Laws, 1906, 1110; Hemingway's 1917, 836; Laws, 1930, 860; Laws, 1942, 2086.

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 Mississippi Case Law:
- "In prosecution for exhibiting a deadly weapon, it was not
  necessary for the state to prove that weapon was exhibited
  at any particular individual..." (1952)
- "Pocket knife is a deadly weapon." (1912)
- "A provocation to justify the exhibiting of a deadly weapon
  must arise at the time of the exhibition." (1897)
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