SOUTH JORDAN After nearly two months of discussions on South Jordan's proposed ordinance to ban toy weapons on public property, the City Council has unanimously voted to pass the ordinance.
In a work session before Tuesday's council meeting, council members discussed the proposed ordinance.
Mayor Kent Money said he was concerned that the public did not understand the purpose of the ordinance. "First, we are only talking about the use of these projectiles in public places," he explained.
The ordinance had originally been worded to ban the use of toy weapons on public and private property. However, after a few revisions, it was rewritten to ban anyone from using a toy weapon on public property.
If people break the new law, they could be found guilty of a class C misdemeanor, which would remain on their criminal records for three years, or until expunged. According to city attorney Robert Wall, it is the same punishment for the same offense with a real gun.
In the work session, Money said community members had commented that when they were young, they played with toy guns and it was never an issue. Money said he agreed, but "when all of us were young, the world was a different place."
"I'm concerned about the kids," Money said.
Council member Aleta Taylor said during the beginning stages of the proposed ordinance, she strongly opposed it. However, after two open forums and several alterations, she supports the measure in its current state.
But she said she did not believe the ordinance should be put to a vote without a public hearing where the council members could explain what the ordinance is and why they support it and residents could express their concerns.
Janalee Tobias, a South Jordan resident and founder of Women Against Gun Control, took advantage of the comment period of the council meeting to express her opinion that the ordinance should not be passed. "This is the Every Kid a Criminal Ordinance," Tobias said, "It is silly."
She urged the council to rethink the ordinance. "Every kid has toy guns they could bring to a public place and be charged as a criminal," she said. She believes that the punishment for using a toy gun in a public place should not be tougher than having a real gun on public property.
Money agreed with her, in part. While he supported the ordinance, he said he was concerned that a child or young adult could have a criminal record for playing with a toy gun. He explained that police and judges would use discretion when a person is tried for an infraction of the law. However, he said he realized that it would be a law and people would be charged with violating it.