JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Jackson's Mayor says his only goal for a ban on the open carry law was to keep citizens safe. In our 3 On Your Side Exclusive the Mayor gives us the status of a lawsuit filed to block his Executive order, which has expired, and why he says something has to be done to protect children and get illegal guns out of the hands of felons.
Mayor Lumumba said, "day after day I'm getting calls from residents talking about people shooting guns up in the air in their neighborhoods. People hearing gunshots continuously."
Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba says he is a proud gun owner and his ban on the open carry law during a civil emergency was never about law abiding gun owners.
Mayor Lumumba said, "since 2013 when many of the open carry laws were introduced, childhood deaths by firearm increased by 72% in the South. And so we need to dive into that and we need to care enough to figure out why that is happening and make the changes."
He gave us this update on a lawsuit filed challenging the ban.
The Mayor said, "the lawsuit that was filed was filed by somebody who did not live in Jackson and while I think that, that lawsuit from all indications should resolve soon and not with any financial burden to the city. It is not yet done and so we will move forward.”
Jackson police were able to confiscate dozens of illegal weapons in the last few weeks. Many of them in the possession of convicted felons.
"I do not apologize for being concerned for Jackson residents. I do not apologize for being moved not only emotionally but moved to action as it related to children's lives that were cut short far too quickly”, Mayor Lumumba said.
We also talked with the mayor about the 1.6 million dollars approved by city council members from the Siemens settlement for a possible project along Highway 18.
Mayor Lumumba said, "I think the premise by which the money was given to a project that we, it has not yet been identified, we know no scope of the project, there have been no plans drawn up for the project, it's just an area that we are all concerned about."
The Mayor says it is important to keep the promise made to the citizens of Jackson to hold public meetings to get their input on how the money should be spent.
"People have been suffering, the city has been suffering financially and so that means that we all should be at the table as we talk about what are the best solutions moving forward”, said Mayor Lumumba.
Mayor Lumumba says work continues with state lawmakers to amend the Mississippi constitution to allow the city to forgive outstanding water bills.