En Español
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or (TTY) 1-800-787-3224

Know the Laws: Mississippi

UPDATED September 27, 2017

View All

WomensLaw.org strongly recommends that you get in touch with a domestic violence advocate in your community for more information on gun laws in your area.  Go to the MS Where to Find Help page to find shelters, advocates and lawyer referrals in your area.

Basic Info

back to topI am a victim of domestic violence and the abuser has a gun. Is that legal?

It depends.  If you have a protective order against the abuser, or if s/he has been convicted of a felony or domestic violence misdemeanor, then federal law states that it is illegal for the abuser to buy, own or have a gun in his/her possession.*  If you are not sure if your abuser has been convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor, see What crimes are considered domestic violence misdemeanors?  To read the definition of a felony, see What is the definition of a felony?

In addition, Mississippi state law makes it a crime for anyone who has been convicted of a felony to possess a firearm.**  MS state law also says that in order for a person to get a license to carry a firearm (stun gun, concealed pistol or concealed revolver), all of the following must be true:

  1. s/he must be a current resident of the state and must have been a resident for the past 12 months (Note: This requirement can be waived if the person has a valid permit from another state, is an active military person stationed in Mississippi, or is a retired law enforcement officer establishing residency in the state);
  2. s/he must be at least 21 years old (Note: There is an exception, however, for someone who is 18 or older and is a member or veteran of the United States Armed Forces);
  3. s/he does not suffer from a physical condition that would prevent the safe handling of a firearm;
  4. s/he has not been been convicted of a felony in any state;
  5. s/he has not had an adjudication of guilt withheld or has not had a suspended sentence on any felony (unless it has been more than 3 years since probation or any other conditions set by the court have been fulfilled);
  6. s/he is not a fugitive from justice;
  7. s/he does not regularly abuse controlled substances (drugs) or alcohol to the point that his/her normal functioning is harmed;
  8. s/he has not been voluntarily or involuntarily committed to a:
    • treatment facility for the abuse of a controlled substance or been found guilty of a drug-related crime within the preceding three-year period; or
    • treatment facility as an alcoholic or has been convicted of 2 or more offenses related to the use of alcohol within the preceding three-year period;
    • mental institution or mental health treatment facility (unless s/he has a psychiatrist verify that s/he has not suffered from the disability for a period of 5 years); and
  9. s/he has not been found to be "mentally incompetent" by a court.***

* 18 USC Sec. 922(g)(8),(9)
** MS Code § 97-37-5(1)
*** MS Code § 45-9-101(2)

Did you find this information helpful?

back to topWhat is the difference between federal and state gun laws?

In these gun laws pages, we refer to both "federal gun laws" and "state gun laws."  The major difference between the two has to do with who makes the law, who prosecutes someone who violates the law, and what the penalty is for breaking the law.

One reason why it is important for you to know that there are these two sets of gun laws is so that you can understand all of the possible ways that the abuser might be breaking the law, and you can better protect yourself.  Throughout this section, we will be referring mostly to state laws.  Be sure to also read our Federal Gun Laws pages to see if any federal laws apply to your situation as well.  You will need to read both state and federal laws to see which ones, if any, the abuser might be violating.

If you are calling the police because you believe the abuser has violated a gun law, you do not necessarily need to be able to tell the police which law was violated (state versus federal) but local police cannot arrest someone for violating federal law, only for violating state/local laws.  Only federal law enforcement, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (“ATF”), can arrest someone for violating federal laws.  If the local police believe that a state law is being violated, they could arrest the abuser and hand the case over to the state prosecutor.  If the local police believe a federal law is being violated, hopefully, the police department will notify the ATF or perhaps the U.S. Attorney’s office in your state (which is the federal prosecutor).  For information on how you can contact ATF directly to report the violation of federal gun laws, go to Who do I notify if I think the abuser should not have a gun?  If the abuser is breaking both state and federal laws, s/he might be prosecuted in both state and federal court.

Did you find this information helpful?

back to top