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Council holds off on ordinance that would hold parents accountable for their children’s gun crimes; will likely take up matter in July

Jackson City Council
Jackson City Council(WLBT)
Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 12:34 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - It will likely be another two weeks before the city council considers an ordinance that could punish parents if their children commit gun crimes.

Tuesday, the council introduced an ordinance that would establish penalties for parents, guardians, or custodians of minors who commit crimes with a handgun or are found in possession of handguns.

Ward Six Councilman Aaron Banks and Ward 3 Councilman Kenneth Stokes wanted to vote on the item Tuesday, but withdrew their request after one councilman, Vernon Hartley, said he had some hesitancy on voting for it.

“I’m not quite ready to move ahead on this item yet, but if the body wants to move ahead, I understand,” Hartley said.

Hartley said he had gotten some comments on the proposal but did not offer additional details.

Council members have been working to flesh out ordinance details for weeks.

According to a copy of the proposed ordinance, parents, guardians or custodians who, “have knowingly caused, encouraged or aided a minor who is less than 18 years of age to possess or carry any handgun, firearm or illegal weapon,” shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and could face six months in jail or a $1,000 fine.

Guns would include pistols, revolvers or other firearms, loaded or unloaded.

Exceptions would include children attending hunter’s safety courses, engaging in organized competition, hunting, or traveling for the purpose of hunting or engaging in an organized competition.

It also would not apply to individuals who use handguns or firearms to “lawfully defend himself from imminent danger at his home or place of domicile.”

The ordinance was voted out of the council’s Public Safety/Park and Environment Ad-Hoc Committee earlier this month.

The measure had to be officially introduced at Tuesday’s meeting, so it could be voted on at the next meeting, which will likely be in early July.

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