Carrying, using whips could become misdemeanor in Reno

Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 10:03 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - If you didn’t know cracking whips around town was a big deal it has generated enough buzz to make its way onto Reno City Council agendas.

On August 25 city council members discussed an ordinance that, if passed, would make using, or carrying a whip illegal. Wednesday morning City Council heard the proposed ordinance again.

Holly Welborn with the ACLU - a nonprofit centered around defending peoples’ rights - says the ordinance violates the first amendment.

“(The ordinance) is not against anyone who is going to the rodeo, and not against anyone who is purchasing a permit for a special event,” said Welborn. “It’s pretty much about a specific type of person who is part of a vulnerable community that we take issue with.”

Cracking whips became an issue when the Reno Police Department said calls regarding whip use went up 61% over the last few years. They say whips have been used in fights and for intimidation.

Welborn argues whip cracking isn’t always a negative thing.

“It’s a form of expression,” she said. “It’s a way of stemming if you have some sort of developmental or neurological issue. It helps alleviate stress in that manner.”

Historically, members of the homeless population have used whips out of self-defense.

Welborn sees the ordinance as unnecessary law.

Reno City Council is set to vote on the ordinance October 13.

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