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Businesses prepare for possible open-carry law

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Updated: 6/29/2013 2:44 pm
TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) -- Despite Friday's injunction by a state judge to block Mississippi's open-carry gun law, area businesses are still preparing for it to eventually pass.

"The person who has it may be well trained, may use it appropriately, but will someone come up to them, take their weapon and do something?" North Mississippi Medical Center vice president and general counsel Bruce Toppin said.

They're not taking any chances with House Bill 2, also known as the state's open-carry gun law, even if it hasn't taken effect yet.

That means residents will start seeing signage at each of NMMC's entrances very soon enforcing that policy.

Manuacturing those signs is big business for at least one local company.

In the past 48 hours, Signs First has made twenty of them for various businesses like the Tupelo Buffalo Park and Toyota's Blue Springs plant.

Many of these places have security in some form, but they aren't always armed.

NMMC's security force is no different.

"They do not carry weapons and we believe it would be appropriate in the event a weapon is needed, the only people on our premises that should have them should be law enforcement," Toppin said.

What about restaurants and bars?

State law already mandates gun owners with standard permits are prohibited from carrying a handgun into any establishment that serves alcohol; however, those with enhanced permits are unaffected.

Officials at The Mall At Barnes Crossing say they've had a no-firearm policy for years, and they plan on continuing that.

"People need training, and we're not sure what kind of training people are going to have just by carrying a weapon," Mall Security Chief Richard Carleton said.

The Mall At Barnes Crossing has already placed signs on its entrance doors prohibiting guns on the premises.

Those who violate the law can be charged with trespassing, according to Carleton.

Meanwhile, arguments will be heard July 8 on the future of that open-carry gun law that was supposed to take effect Monday.

Hinds County Circuit Judge Winston Kidd granted an injunction Friday evening, saying the law was vague.
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