Hours after Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch warned the mayor of Jackson that his edict banning the open carrying of firearms violated the state’s constitution, the Mississippi Justice Institute decided to take the issue to court, filing a lawsuit on behalf of State Rep. Dana Criswell.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court, names Mayor Chokwe Lumumba in his official capacity, and alleges that the mayor’s unilateral decision to suspend open carry in the city violates the Second Amendment rights of residents.

“A serious pandemic is not an opportunity for unconstitutional virtue signaling by grandstanding politicians,” said Aaron Rice, the Director of the Mississippi Justice Institute. “Mayor Lumumba has exploited the present public health crisis as a pretext to target law abiding people who are exercising their constitutional rights.”

“As a citizen of the great state of Mississippi who has regular business in our capital city of Jackson, I was shocked by the recent announcement by Mayor Lumumba,” said Criswell. “I take the protection of myself and my family very seriously and believe deeply in the constitutional right to keep and bear arms. The mayor’s attempt to disarm me and deny me the ability of self-defense puts me and my family in danger anytime we are in Jackson.”

Mayor Lumumba has been called “the most radical mayor in America” by progressive activists, but his decision to ban open carry wasn’t just radical, it was clearly unconstitutional. Not only does the mayor not have the authority to order a ban under the state’s emergency powers law, according to the state’s attorney general, but the state’s constitution and statutes clearly allow for the open carrying of firearms, even in a state of emergency.

Lumumba sounded a note of defiance at a Monday press conference, acknowledging his office has received a number of complaints over his edict, but dismissing the criticism as coming from outside agitators.

Mayor Lumumba said, “the calls that I have received have in large part been from people who neither live in Jackson nor are suffering under the consequences of their children being killed.”

The mayor is taking aim at illegal guns and those who should not be allowed to have them.

“I’m motivated by what I have seen recently looking at the officer cams as they arrive on scene for the babies that were killed recently,” said Mayor Lumumba.

The city recently saw the murder of a 5-year old and an 11-year old, but Lumumba’s ban on open carry won’t do anything to prevent the violence in Jackson. Instead, if the mayor is serious about making Jackson a safer place, he needs to deal with the individuals who are responsible for these malicious acts, not target the city’s law-abiding residents by restricting their right to keep and bear arms.

The mayor could get serious about tackling violent crime and targeting violent criminals, but instead he’s decided to engage in a political stunt that seems designed to generate headlines instead of safer streets.