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Governor signs new gun, ammunition bills into law

Realtor at Crye-Leike Stedman Realtors Pat Porter owns and carries a .22 Ruger Magnum long barrel and has been carrying for the past 40-years throughout her career in sales. On Firday, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed a bill into law that allows Mississippians to carry a pistol or revolver in a fully enclosed case without a concealed carry permit. Porter, below, keeps her gun in her purse. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Realtor at Crye-Leike Stedman Realtors Pat Porter owns and carries a .22 Ruger Magnum long barrel and has been carrying for the past 40-years throughout her career in sales. On Friday, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed a bill into law that allows Mississippians to carry a pistol or revolver in a fully enclosed case without a concealed carry permit. Porter, below, keeps her gun in her purse. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant on Friday signed two bills into law, one of which allows Mississippians to carry a pistol or revolver in a purse, briefcase or other fully enclosed case without a concealed carry permit.

The other new law protects Mississippians from federal overregulation of ammunition, Bryant claims.

Adams County Sheriff Chuck Mayfield said he has no issue with the new carry legislation.

“I’m like this: The criminals are going to carry guns no matter what. I really don’t have a problem with people who carry them for their own protection. It’s a dangerous world out there,” he said. “It’s almost like what some say about locking your doors. That keeps the honest people out. Criminals are going to find a way to get in. It’s the same thing with this. I think more and more, people are going to have to protect themselves.”

Pat Porter, a realtor with Crye-Leike Stedman Realtors of Natchez, agrees.

“Wonderful! Being a realtor, I think this is a very good thing,” Porter said. “I have a .22 Ruger Magnum long barrel, but it’s not exactly a gun I can carry in my purse. I’ll probably get a .38 revolver now to carry in my purse.”

Porter said having ready access to a weapon makes her feel more comfortable while doing her job.

“When I take someone to see a house, particularly someone I don’t know and a man, I think I will be more comfortable carrying a gun,” she said.

Porter said she has no fear of guns.

“I have been shooting on and off my entire life, starting out when I would go duck hunting with daddy,” she said, noting that she can hit a bull’s eye right in the center with her .22.

“As long as someone is responsible, I think it’s fine that they carry a gun in their purse. But I don’t want anyone pulling it out and flashing it around,” Porter said.

Joanne Hicks of Natchez took the Adams County Sheriff’s Office’s Ladies Beware Training Course in September at the Southwest Mississippi Training Facility in Natchez.

“I’ve heard so many women say they carry their gun in their purse anyway, but I would never do that if it wasn’t legal,” Hicks said.

Now that doing so is legal, Hicks said she would consider doing so, “depending on where I’m going. I don’t think I would ever just carry it in my purse, but would take it with me if I felt I needed it.”

She took the gun safety course at the urging of her children.

“As a younger person, I shot guns from time to time. My sons hunt and I have had access to the gun they have and have shot it. I’m not afraid of a gun. But I’m 68 and live alone and have for years and people would say to me, ‘You don’t have a gun?’ I would tell them, ‘No. I’ve never been afraid.’ But as more and more people talked about it, I decided I needed to get one,” Hicks said. “My sons told me if I was going to get a gun, I needed to take a course, which I did.”

She said her gun is very lightweight and comfortable in her hand.

“I made sure it’s something that I could handle. I think this law is a good idea because there are people who are doing it anyway. You may as well give otherwise law-abiding citizens a chance to be legal,” Hicks said.