Facing a federal lawsuit, unanimous opposition from city council members, and a growing chorus of criticism from the public as well as public officials, Jackson, Mississippi mayor Chokwe Lumumba on Thursday dropped his attempt to ban the open carrying of firearms in the city even as he extended the city’s stay-at-home order.
Lumumba had previously said that he would extend his ban on open carry as well, but backed off of that boast at a press conference where he surrounded himself with gun control activists.
Lumumba was flanked by organizers with Moms Demand Action, a national organization that works to protect people from gun violence, during Thursday’s press conference in the garden next to City Hall.
The controversial open carry ban was short-lived, but Lumumba said he still believes such an order is necessary to curb gun violence in the city.
Other organizations, such as the Poor People’s Campaign and Everytown for Gun Safety, had also reached out in support, he said.
“Senseless gun violence has plagued the city for too long…We are simply not doing enough,” he said.
“The residents of Jackson and the police department are fighting a battle with their hands tied behind their backs.”
The mayor said he respected the Second Amendment and gun rights, but believes his order was necessary to get illegal firearms off the streets.
We’ll come back to Mayor Lumumba in a paragraph, but let’s talk about the fact that “gun safety” groups like Moms Demand Action and Everytown for Gun Safety (which are in essence the same Bloomberg-backed and funded organization) decided to publicly support Lumumba’s open carry ban. Not only did the ban have nothing to do with common sense, it was clearly unconstitutional. Lumumba’s edict was the one of the most egregious attempts that I’ve seen by a mayor use the state of emergency to infringe on the right to keep and bear arms, and the fact that it was embraced by these organizations is just more proof that the goal of these gun control groups isn’t “gun safety” but gun bans.
During his press conference, the mayor said he still felt his order was necessary, but if that was really the case, he would have extended it and fought the good fight in court. Instead, he caved, because this was never about public safety. It was always about public relations, and Lumumba didn’t get the warm reception he was hoping for, though I’m sure that cozying up to Moms Demand Action and Everytown for Gun Safety will earn him some extra Bloomberg bucks for his next campaign.
After covering the debacle of Lumumba’s open carry ban, I’ve come to the conclusion that not only is the mayor is a political hack, he’s a coward as well. He’ll surround himself with gun control activists while claiming to support the Second Amendment, but he won’t actually speak to any Second Amendment supporters. I’ve repeatedly reached out to his office this week to invite him on Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co, but have heard nothing in response. The good people in Jackson’s worst neighborhoods deserve better than what a politician eager to exploit their pain for his own political agenda.