Mississippi Crime of the Week – Giving a Weapon to a Minor or Drunk

It is unlawful in Mississippi to sell, give, or lend a deadly weapon, or illegal concealed weapon, or a pistol cartridge, to any minor under the age of 18, or any intoxicated person.  Any person found guilty of this crime faces a punishment of a fine of up to $1000.00, or jail time not to exceed one year, or both.

Think about how many times this law is violated each year at Christmas, birthdays, and at hunting camps during deer and duck season.  When I was 12 my Dad gave me a shotgun for Christmas.  I only say that now because the statute of limitations has run.

Obviously this crime is rarely charged, and randomly enforced.  The only reported case from the Mississippi Supreme Court is a civil case whereby a department store in Vicksburg was found liable for allowing a mentally deranged person to have both a pistol and ammunition at the same time.  The person loaded the pistol, held the place hostage, and the Missisippi Supreme Court held the store liable because the store “should have better instructed clerks in firearms department and the store had a duty, apart from statute, to have in effect some safety precautions and procedures designed to prevent what occurred.”   Howard Bros. of Phenix City, Inc. v. Penley, 492 S0.2d 965 (Miss. 1986).

I have discussed Mississippi’s rich firearms tradition.  Guns are with us to stay, thanks to a couple of recent decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court.  Use your better judgment when handling firearms around children, and if you mix alcohol and guns you may as well come in and let me prepare you a will before you get started.  I’m going to post the Marine Corps’ Four Safety Rules here just so you’ll know:

  1. Treat every weapon as if it were loaded.
  2. Keep your finger straight and off the trigger until you intend to fire.
  3. Never point your weapon at anything you don’t intend to kill.
  4. Keep your weapon on safe until you intend to fire.

If you have a question about Mississippi gun laws, give me a call.  601-991-1099.