The Honorable Richard G. White
Office of the Attorney GeneralJune 2, 2006
2006 WL 2385474 (Miss.A.G.)
Office of the Attorney General
State of Mississippi
*1 Opinion No. 2006-00220
*1 June 2, 2006
Re: Gun Shows on Fairgrounds
*1 The Honorable Richard G. White
*1 Mississippi State Senate
*1 Twenty-Ninth District
*1 12462 Springridge Road
*1 Terry, Mississippi 39170
Dear Senator White:
*1 Attorney General Jim Hood received your letter of request and assigned it to me for research and reply. Your letter states:
*1 It was reported in the April 12, 2006 edition of the Jackson Free Press that Jackson Mayor Frank Melton is preparing an executive order to outlaw gun shows in the city limits of Jackson, including the Mississippi State Fairgrounds. In order to provide guidance to the Legislature and to the law enforcement officers of Hinds County and the City of Jackson, I am respectfully requesting an opinion for the Office of Attorney General on the authority of the Mayor and/or the City Council of the City of Jackson to ban gun shows on the Mississippi Fairgrounds.
*1 My research on this question indicates the following: In an opinion from Attorney General Mike Moore to Commissioner Jim Buck Ross issued on August 26, 1992 regarding the authority of the police department of the City of Jackson at the State Fairgrounds, it is stated:
*1 To our knowledge, the only limitation on municipal police jurisdiction as it pertains to state-owned property located within the municipality is that a municipal corporation may not impose the terms, conditions or requirements of its ordinances upon the property of the state or its political subdivisions where the Legislature has granted full authority to the state or its political subdivision to regulate its own property, unless the Legislature has given the municipality the specific authority to regulate said property or the state or its political subdivision has waived the right to regulate its own property.
*1 In this situation, the Legislature has given full authority to regulate the State Fairgrounds to the Mississippi Fair Commission under Section 69-5-3, Mississippi Code of 1972, and to our knowledge, the commission has not waived its authority to the City of Jackson. Moreover, in 1986, the Legislature enacted Sections 45-9-51 and 45-9-53, Mississippi Code of 1972, stating that counties and municipalities may not adopt any ordinance restricting the possession, transportation, sale, transfer or ownership of firearms or ammunition or their components. Also, in City of Jackson v. State of Mississippi, 676 So.2d 257 (Miss. 1996), the Mississippi Supreme Court held that the city did not have the ability to enforce local zoning ordinances upon state owned land (in this case, Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium) because the Legislature had specifically promulgated statutes regarding the use of said state property. These opinions, statutes and cases clearly seem to forbid any restrictions of gun shows on the state fairgrounds by the City of Jackson. (However, the Jackson police department does retain jurisdiction over violations of state criminal statutes on the fairgrounds).
*2 We first address the question of whether the mayor of a municipality that operates under the mayor-council form of government has the authority to regulate an activity such as a gun show by the issuance of an executive order.
*2 Mississippi Code Annotated Section 21-8-17 (1) (Revised 2001) sets forth the general powers and duties of mayors of mayor-council municipalities. It provides:
*2 The mayor shall enforce the charter and ordinances of the municipality and all general laws applicable thereto. He shall annually report to the council and the public on the work of the previous year and on the condition and requirements of the municipal government and shall, from time to time, make such recommendations for action by the council as he may deem in the public interest. He shall supervise all of the departments of the municipal government and shall require each department to make an annual report and such other reports of its work as he may deem desirable.
*2 We find nothing in the above quoted statute or any other legal authority that could be interpreted to grant the mayor of a mayor-council municipality the authority to regulate such an activity by the issuance of an executive order. Therefore, it is the opinion of this office that the mayor may not lawfully ban gun shows by the issuance of an executive order or otherwise.
*2 We next address the authority of the city council to ban gun shows on the Mississippi Fairgrounds. Based on our prior opinion, statutes and case law all cited in your letter, we are in agreement with your analysis and your conclusion that the Mississippi Legislature has given full authority to regulate the State Fairgrounds to the Mississippi Fair Commission and has specifically prohibited counties and municipalities from adopting any ordinance restricting the possession, transportation, sale, transfer or ownership of firearms or ammunition or their components. Therefore, it is our opinion that the Jackson City Council has no authority to ban gun shows on the Mississippi State Fairgrounds.
2006 WL 2385474 (Miss.A.G.)
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