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March 13, 2007




(JACKSON, Mississippi) – Surrounded by legislators, prosecutors and law enforcement officers, Governor Haley Barbour today signed two bills into law designed to toughen penalties against felons having guns or using them in the act of a crime.


“Enacting aggressive laws to curb violent crimes and protect public safety is the goal of all these distinguished legislators, prosecutors and law enforcement officers standing with me today,” Governor Barbour said.


Senate Bill 2470 increases the statutory maximum penalty to up to 10 years for previously convicted felons found in possession of a firearm. The current statutory maximum sentence is up to three years. The Senate sponsor of the bill is Sen. Ed Morgan, R-Hattiesburg, and the House sponsor is Rep. Jeff Smith, D-Columbus, chairman of the House Judiciary B Committee.


Senate Bill 2459 states that a convicted felon who uses a firearm during the act of any other felony will face an additional 10 years of imprisonment. The 10 year sentence must be consecutive to the underlying felony and can not be reduced or suspended. The current statutory sentence for either a convicted felon or first offender is five years. The Senate sponsor is Sen. Perry Lee, R-Mendenhall, and the House sponsor is Chairman Smith.