Today, the Mississippi Senate passed Senate Bill 2478, sponsored by state Senator Terry Burton (R-Lauderdale, Newton & Scott Counties), to cut fees for concealed carry permits from $100 to $75 for original licenses, reduce renewal fees from $50 to $40 and lower senior citizen fees from $25 to $20. An amendment offered by its sponsor, extended an exemption from permit fees to active duty military personnel. Thank you to Senator Burton, Senator Giles Ward (R-Leake, Neshoba & Winston Counties) and Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves (R) for their leadership on this issue. Section 45-9-101(16) of Mississippi’s concealed carry law states that “all fees collected by the Department of Public Safety pursuant to this section shall be deposited into a special fund hereby created in the State Treasury and shall be used for implementation and administration of this section. After the close of each fiscal year, the balance in this fund shall be certified to the Legislature and then may be used by the Department of Public Safety as directed by the Legislature.” During the debate on SB 2478, Senator Burton provided information to his colleagues showing that the DPS had transferred $4.1 million over the last two fiscal years from the permit unit to their general operating fund without approval from the state Legislature, clearly not following the plain language of this statute. You can read more about the history of this measure, as well as his support of it, on the Lieutenant Governor’s Facebook page. The DPS has recently adopted two positive policy changes that affect enhanced carry instructors and permit holders. According to their website, instructors who maintain a valid carry permit will no longer have to recertify with the department, and enhanced carry endorsements on permits are now valid indefinitely instead of needing to be renewed every five years or when the permit itself expires. Special thanks to local firearms instructor Rick Ward for initiating discussions with the DPS on these important administrative improvements. Once again, House Speaker Philip Gunn (R-Hinds, Madison, Warren & Yazoo Counties), House Speaker Pro Tempore Greg Snowden (R-Clarke & Lauderdale Counties) and the legislative chamber that they lead demonstrated their commitment to your right to keep and bear arms by passing three important NRA-backed bills: House Bill 314, sponsored by state Representative and Second Amendment stalwart, Andy Gipson (R-Rankin, Simpson & Smith Counties), which clarifies limits on the authority of municipalities and counties to restrict the carrying of firearms and provides a legal remedy for citizens who are adversely impacted by local gun control ordinances enacted outside the scope of this authority. HB 314 passed by a 85 to 33 vote. House Bill 485, sponsored by state Representative Gary Chism (R-Clay, Lowndes & Oktibbeha Counties), would prohibit the destruction of firearms acquired by local governments as a result of gun “buyback” programs. Special thanks to House Judiciary A Chairman Mark Baker (R-Madison & Rankin Counties) for managing HB 485 on the House floor. HB 485 passed unanimously. House Bill 705, sponsored by state Representative Dennis DeBar (R-Forrest, George, Greene, Perry & Wayne Counties), would expand protections against the confiscation of lawfully-possessed firearms during a state of emergency or natural disaster. Special thanks to Chairman Baker for also managing this HB 705 on the House floor. HB 705 passed by a 112 to 2 vote. Your NRA-ILA will continue to update you when more information is available.