June 8, 2018 11:09:35 AM
Good sense took a beating Thursday in the Mississippi Supreme Court. In a 5-4 ruling the state's high court ruled that a ban on guns in the courthouse implemented by our chancery judges here in Lowndes County were unconstitutional.
In Ward v. Colom, the majority ruled that people with "enhanced carry" licenses are free to pack their heat into the very courthouses that adjudicate some of the most emotionally-charged situations. Gee. What's the worst that could happen, right?
Don't look now, but the 2nd Amendment just jumped the shark.
This all began a couple of years ago, when a guy named Rick Ward showed up at the Lowndes County Board of Supervisors to warn that body that if they acted on a recommendation by Chancery Judge Dorothy Colom to ban guns not just in the courtrooms themselves, but within 200 feet of the courtrooms, he would take them to court. By extending the no-gun zone to 200 feet, the courthouse would essentially be gun-free.
Nobody objected to that ban, locally, even though there is no shortage of 2nd Amendment absolutists in town.
There was one exception.
Ward, who lives in Jackson, has been going around threatening counties that want to keep guns out of courthouses for quite a while. But let's not worry with him. He's little more than a nuisance and a busy-body consumed by a combination of paranoia and delusions of grandeur - sort of a self-professed Patrick Henry meets Dirty Harry. He's a comical figure, at best.
The real criticism should be directed at the justices of the Supreme Court. They ought to have known better, but apparently don't. This is what happens when justices are elected - they run on ideology rather than expertise.
Aside from being a member of the Mississippi bar, there are no qualifications for holding the highest seat in our state's judicial system. Too many of our justices are not on the high court to uphold the rule of law but to advance and support a political agenda.
In Mississippi, that means any law that inhibits "gun rights" in even the most benign manner is going to incur the wrath of our politician/judges.
In her recommendation to the supervisors two years ago, Colom said that, absent the 200 foot ban on guns, she would require that two armed officers be stationed at each courtroom entrance. Up until now, the only officers needed were those at the main entrance.
That means law enforcement will have to expend valuable, limited resources to man those positions instead of being out on the streets.
That's not acceptable. It's ridiculous.
Board of Supervisors Harry Sanders may have the right idea. During the debate over whether the county should ban guns from the courthouse, Sanders suggested they simply ban ammunition from being admitted in the courthouse.
That idea would at least buy some time, although you can bet Ward would again file suit and the Mississippi Supreme Court would again rule of the gun instead of the people.
If this ruling is the proper interpretation of the 2nd Amendment, it's probably time to repeal it.
Any amendment that endangers the people should not be a part of our Constitution.
There is no better example of that than Thursday's decision by the Mississippi Supreme Court.
Slim Smith is a columnist and feature writer for The Dispatch. His email address is [email protected]