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Clark County law would ban makeshift weapons from protests

Baseball bats, slingshots and other potential weapons could soon be banned at protests in Clark County.

County commissioners on Tuesday discussed creating an ordinance they hope would prevent violence at public gatherings.

Metropolitan Police Department representative Chuck Callaway said Sheriff Joe Lombardo became interested in such a law after violence at a white-nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, left three dead and more than 30 injured in August.

“We’re seeing a trend across the country where folks are showing up to these types of events, not necessarily for the purpose of exercising their First Amendment rights, but for the purpose of fighting, intimidating others,” Callaway said. “They come prepared, it looks like, for battle. Shields, helmets, sticks, bottles with various items in them.”

The long list of items that would be banned includes torches, bricks, knives, ice picks, shields and nunchucks. Stun guns and pepper spray containers large than a half-ounce would also be banned.

“In today’s era we kind of need to be prepared for everything,” said Commissioner Marilyn Kirkpatrick, who requested Tuesday’s discussion.

Callaway said Metro worked with the county, the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada and Culinary Workers Local 226 to create an ordinance that would promote safety without infringing on First Amendment rights.

Small sticks and pipes used to hoist signs and flags would be allowed at protests. Larger sticks and pipes would not.

Callaway said the ordinance would be designed as a preventive measure instead of a punitive one.

People who arrive at protests with forbidden items would be asked to leave and return without them. Those who refuse could be taken into custody, driven to the jail and given a citation before being released.

“In rare cases we might make an arrest, but it would not be our intent to make an arrest,” Callaway said.

Contact Michael Scott Davidson at sdavidson@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3861. Follow @davidsonlvrj on Twitter.

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