Home > Featured > City proposes whip ban, citing noise, fights and use by ‘amateurs’

City proposes whip ban, citing noise, fights and use by ‘amateurs’

By Bob Conrad

The City of Reno Police Department would like to ban whips from public property. Officials are blaming amateur whip crackers and the noise they create as the primary reason for a new ordinance up for consideration at Wednesday’s city council meeting.

“Calls for service regarding whips have nearly doubled in the last year,” a city staff report noted. “The vast majority of whips that RPD have discovered are homemade using a variety of material such as rope, string, chains, and leather. The average length of the homemade whips is between 7 and 15 feet.”

Police say they can’t enforce an ordinance that doesn’t exist and the noise in particular is jarring, which is prompting complaints. Indeed, there are sightings of whip crackers posted regularly on social media.

“I wonder if [the whip crackers] know that people on Reddit are irrationally obsessed with them,” a Reno Reddit commenter recently posted.

City officials are less enthusiastic about the semi-legendary “whip man” sightings, however.

“Persons possessing whips have used them in fights, for intimidation, and to practice ‘cracking’ the whip,” officials wrote in a staff report. “This occurs when the tip of the whip breaks the speed of sound resembling that of shots being fired from a firearm. The individuals RPD have contacted with these types of whips are amateurs when it comes to proper use, and it is evident they do not possess it for any intended proper use.”

Somebody was arrested in June after whipping somebody at City Plaza. Officials specifically noted people want to feel safe downtown, so the draft ordinance is modeled after one in Hawaii.

“The proposed ordinance would draw inspiration from Hawaii’s ordinance and would be titled Sec. 8.18.035 Unlawful Use of a Whip,” the staff report noted. “The proposed ordinance would state that unless otherwise permitted no person shall use, carry or possess whips or crack or use a whip to annoy, interfere with or endanger a person on public grounds.”

Violation of the ordinance would be a misdemeanor and properties included in the whip ban would include public property and grounds “that are under the control and supervision of the City of Reno…”

Whip types that would be banned include “a pliant, flexible instrument, such as a flexible rod or thong or lash attached to a handle used for flogging or beating a person and/or used to create a sharp ‘crack’ sound for directing or herding animals.” 

More specifically, “The definition of whip shall include all variations of whips, including but not limited to: bullwhip, stock whip, yard whip, cattle drafter, bullock-whip, Raman whip, Rose whip, Florida cow whip, signal whip, snake whip, equestrian whips, buggy whip, and Qilinbian,” the draft ordinance indicates.

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