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Senators get gun rule exemption

JACKSON - The Mississippi Senate on Thursday gave 29 of its 52 members permission to bring firearms on state Capitol grounds.

Sen. Ralph Doxey, D-Holly Springs, sought the exemption from Joint Rule 37, which prohibits firearms at the Capitol and on the building's grounds. Doxey asked for only a grounds exemption. The 28 other Senate members joined him in the motion.

The House and Senate on Wednesday adopted rules under which both chambers will operate.Doxey said the rule would have been a burden on him because he often hunts in other areas of the state and then travels back to the Capitol with his gun.

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, D-Brookhaven, said she usually leaves her hunting rifle at home, but she does carry a Smith & Wesson snub-nose .38 when she's in Jackson because of the city's crime rate.

Sen. Kelvin Butler, D-Magnolia, said the Constitution gives U.S. citizens the right to bear arms. The freshman lawmaker said he also wanted the exemption so he could keep his title as senator.
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