Mississippi gun law under fire after recent shootings

(WMC-TV) - A new Mississippi gun law is under fire after the recent shooting deaths of two college students.

The new law went into effect last summer and allows Mississippians to obtain an enhanced conceal and carry license after passing a state-approved course.

If a gun owner passes the course they are allowed to bring their weapons almost anywhere.

Only Mississippians who pass an approved course can obtain their enhanced concealed and carry permit.

The recently passed law allows license holders to legally bring guns to places like schools, churches, and restaurants; places that used to be off limits for firearms.

When it comes to the eight public colleges in the state, their policy still says no to guns on campus.

After two college students, both died from gunshots in Mississippi this year, it has students talking about protection.

John Sanderson was shot and killed on the Mississippi State campus and Nolan Henderson was also killed near Jackson State University.

"You should always be able to defend yourself wherever you are at any moment," said Bradley Keel.

Some students we spoke to said they agree with the right to defense, but don't think guns are the solution.

"I think people have the right to carry them of course for their own safety but I don't see the need for them on a college campus," said Shashelia King.

The state's Institutions of Higher Learning's existing policy already outlaws anyone but approved law enforcement from carrying a gun on one of their eight public schools, including Ole Miss.

If a person is found with a gun on campus, according to the new law, they cannot be prosecuted if they have the enhanced permit, but could still face trouble with the college for violating the school's policy.

"The least amount of guns on campus the better, I'd rather just the cops have guns and not students," said college student William Pogodzinski.

Ole Miss Attorney Lee Tyner said the school will continue to follow the current IHL board policy unless it changes.

While Sellers understands the desire for protection, he believes guns don't belong on campus.

"It's not something I'm in favor of, I'm against it. I'm on record being against it, I think we really didn't need it," Sellers said.

Ole Miss Police say they have not had discussions with any students who have the new enhanced permit since the law came into effect.

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