A Mississippi man with an "enhanced" concealed carry permit was arrested over the weekend for discharging a firearm inside city limits after he accidentally hit a woman with a shell in church when his gun discharged.
Churchgoers at Pinelake Church in Rankin County were preparing for service on Sunday morning when the 9mm handgun in Joseph Edgar Ray's pocket discharged while he was sitting down, according to the Clarion-Ledger.
Flowood Police Department Lt. Ricky McMillian told the paper that the bullet lodged in the concrete floor and a woman was hit by the shell. WAPT also reported that "[f]ragments from the bullet shell grazed a woman nearby." WJTV's report said that the shell "barely broke skin."
"It did hit a lady in the leg but it didn’t break her skin so the lady wasn’t hurt," McMillian noted. "Even though it was an accident, we recognize the seriousness of the situation... Worst case scenario, is it goes off and someone dies."
Pinelake Church Executive Pastor of Operations Rod Cadenhead pointed out in a statement that guns were not allowed on the property. In fact, a sign in front of the church says, "Carrying of a pistol or revolver is prohibited."
"We are thankful for God's grace and protection given this unsettling and unprecedented incident," Cadenhead insisted. "We are committed to providing a safe environment for our church family to worship, and firearms are prohibited on our campuses."
But McMillian told Raw Story that Ray had an "enhanced" carry permit that allowed him to ignore signs prohibiting guns, except in some places like schools and courtrooms.
"Most people go by the signs, we very seldom have stuff like that crisscross," he said, adding that Ray was an "upstanding guy" and that's why he wasn't releasing his mug shot.
"The whole thing we're trying to get people to understand, we're an open carry state and we do have the carry permit for concealed. If you're going to carry one, you need to be responsible. You know, practice good gun safety. Make sure it's in a holster and stuff like that," McMillian remarked. "Because once that bullet leaves that barrel, you can't bring it back."
Watch the video below from WJTV, broadcast Nov. 25, 2013.
[Photo: Man with concealed handgun/weapon (Shutterstock.com)]