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Close up of a pistol holded in jeans back pocket

I like Mississippi. It has one of the greatest rivers in the country, if not the world. When I have traveled in Mississippi, I’ve met some of the nicest people around.

That said, Mississippi has a serious problem. Did you read the story a short while back about the man who walked around inside a Mississippi Walmart store openly carrying a 12-gauge shotgun and repeatedly racking it? Walmart employees felt terrorized, retreated to a remote area in the store and telephoned the local police.

You won’t believe what happened. Nothing! Turns out this guy was apparently not breaking the law. There was nothing the police felt they could do. No arrests were made. No charges were filed. In this day and age, with a different mass shooting in malls, schools, post offices, military facilities and any number of other public environments across the country being reported on what seems like a weekly basis, how could that possibly be?

NRA. Lobbyists, Second Amendment proponents. Take your choice. In this day and age, when our public representatives look you straight in the face and ask you what was wrong about that picture, some guy walking around in the Walmart loading and cocking a shotgun and driving terror and fear into others properly in the store, we have a serious problem.

And I’m not just talking about the fellow carrying the shot gun, and the increased chances of someone unintentionally being injured or killed. I’m talking about the incompetence of our public representatives and the undue influence of those who lobby them.

As much as we need to change such open carry laws, it is even more the case that we need to overhaul our lobbying laws and the undue influence that lobbyists, and their clients, assert on our public officials on a daily basis. I’ll save the argument about just how our gun control laws should and can be updated—without trampling on anyone’s second amendment rights—for another day.

For now, the first issue raised by this story is not gun control, it’s controlling our political representatives and the lobby industry, most of whom, coincidentally, are former political representatives.

Only part of the problem, but a significant part, is how easily former political representatives are permitted to become highly compensated lobbyists because of the coziness they enjoy with their former public colleagues.

 


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