Multipronged efforts to drop Mississippi carry permit costs underway

Mississippi Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, podium, is making concealed carry reform part of his legislative agenda. (Photo: Tate Reeves)

Mississippi Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, podium, is making concealed carry reform part of his legislative agenda. (Photo: Tate Reeves)

At least two bills have been submitted to the state legislature to slash the price of concealed carry permits in the Magnolia State with the support of Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves (R).

Currently, Mississippi charges $132 for new permits including the cost of fingerprinting done by the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation and $82 for renewals every four years. Under a pair of bills entered into the state Senate, this would decline by at least $20 for new permits and $10 for re-ups.

The state’s lieutenant governor concurs with this figure.

“Due to the profitability of the program, it is clear we can reduce the fiscal burden of taxpayers who want to legally carry firearms in this state without impacting the Department of Public Safety’s bottom line,” said Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves in his 2015 Legislative Agenda. “There is a surplus of $2.5 million in this fund. No government agency should profit off of Mississippi gun owners. I propose reducing this fee by 20 percent.”

This figure, allowing the MBI’s $32 fingerprint fee to remain unchanged, would translate to a total cost of permits to Mississippi’s concealed carriers of $112 and $72 respectively.

According to a 2014 study conducted by the Crime Prevention Research Center, the price of concealed carry permits varied greatly nationwide from as low as $10 in South Dakota to $150 in Illinois, making Mississippi’s one of the highest. The study subsequently found that each $10 increase in fees reduces the percent of adults with permits by about a half a percentage point.

Shooters in the state agree that the lower cost could bring more permit holders.

Randy Brownley, President of Coast Rifle and Pistol Club, told Fox 25, “I certainly hope it gets more people, as long as they’re law abiding citizens in Mississippi, to be able to carry a gun, to obtain a gun, to buy a gun. I know that they will still have all of the background checks and everything that is currently required, but it is a good thing.”

Mississippi has no mandate to require firearms training for its permits; however, those who complete an 8-hour course from a state-approved instructor can qualify for an Enhanced Carry endorsement, which largely makes gun free zones a moot point. Reeves wants to accept military training as a substitute for the course for veterans.

“Members of the Mississippi National Guard, current soldiers, and veterans went through grueling training to learn how to defend our nation. This training included extensive lessons on the proper use of firearms,” said Reeves. “That is why I believe that training should earn active-duty soldiers and honorably discharged veterans the right to hold enhanced concealed carry permits without paying almost $200 to a private firearms instructor.”