New mayor says new ordinace on nightclubs ‘too broad’

TUPELO — Questions about Tupelo’s new nightclub ordinance have prompted the city council to hold another public meeting on the regulations on Friday.

City officials, including Tupelo Police Chief Tony Carleton, have said enforcement will be “complaint driven.”

Mayor-elect Jason Shelton, who will take office Monday, tells the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal the ordinance appears too broad and he wants to take another look at it after taking office.

“I don’t like the idea of selective enforcement or complaint-driven enforcement,” Shelton. “The ordinance just has to be done right.”

The city council adopted the ordinance in March. The council put off the enforcement of the ordinance until October. The council has held one public hearing. Another is scheduled Friday.

The change came in response to repeated disturbances and assaults at nightclubs, including a fatal January 2011 shooting.

The ordinance, among other things, requires club owners to produce a floor plan showing where alcohol is served, apply for an annual permit, attend compliance training, hire security guards and check each patron to make sure no weapons enter the premises.

It defines “nightclub” as businesses with occupancy of 100 or more people that serve alcohol and have “amplified music, dancing, table games or video games.” Businesses with fewer than 100 people meeting this description will be regulated under the ordinance if the police are called more than once during a 30-day period.

“We understand the genesis of this ordinance and appreciate what our public safety officials are doing to protect our citizens and visitors while keeping Tupelo safe,” said Neal McCoy, executive director of the Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“However, I have heard from numerous restaurant owners and managers that feel this ordinance is too far reaching and will adversely affect restaurant and entertainment venues that have not been a nuisance.”

Penalties for failing to comply with the law include $500 fines and/or up to 90 days in jail per violation.

 

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2 Responses to “New mayor says new ordinace on nightclubs ‘too broad’”

  1. Elaine Vechorik Says:

    If the nightclub is declared a “place of nuisance” it is closed and no firearm may be brought in (which is a stupid law, because if it’s close, how can the public bring in a firearm)

    The City has NO authority to regulate firearms in their ordinance — There is a law on the books since 2006 that limits the areas where they can restrict firearms. Here it is:

    § 45-9-53. Exceptions

    (1) This section and Section 45-9-51 do not affect the authority that a county or municipality may have under another law:

    (a) To require citizens or public employees to be armed for personal or national defense, law enforcement, or another lawful purpose;

    (b) To regulate the discharge of firearms within the limits of the county or municipality. A county or municipality may not apply a regulation relating to the discharge of firearms or other weapons in the extraterritorial jurisdiction of the county or municipality or in an area annexed by the county or municipality after September 1, 1981, if the firearm or other weapon is:

    (i) A shotgun, air rifle or air pistol, BB gun or bow and arrow discharged:

    1. On a tract of land of ten (10) acres or more and more than one hundred fifty (150) feet from a residence or occupied building located on another property; and

    2. In a manner not reasonably expected to cause a projectile to cross the boundary of the tract; or

    (ii) A center fire or rim fire rifle or pistol or a muzzle-loading rifle or pistol of any caliber discharged:

    1. On a tract of land of fifty (50) acres or more and more than three hundred (300) feet from a residence or occupied building located on another property; and

    2. In a manner not reasonably expected to cause a projectile to cross the boundary of tract;

    (c) To regulate the use of property or location of businesses for uses therein pursuant to fire code, zoning ordinances, or land-use regulations, so long as such codes, ordinances and regulations are not used to circumvent the intent of Section 45-9-51 or subparagraph (e) of this section;

    (d) To regulate the use of firearms in cases of insurrection, riots and natural disasters in which the city finds such regulation necessary to protect the health and safety of the public. However, the provisions of this section shall not apply to the lawful possession of firearms in the home, place of business or in transit to and from the home or place of business;

    (e) To regulate the storage or transportation of explosives in order to protect the health and safety of the public, with the exception of black powder which is exempt up to twenty-five (25) pounds per private residence and fifty (50) pounds per retail dealer;

    (f) To regulate the carrying of a firearm at: (i) a public park or at a public meeting of a county, municipality or other governmental body; (ii) a political rally, parade or official political meeting; or (iii) a nonfirearm-related school, college or professional athletic event; or

    (g) To regulate the receipt of firearms by pawnshops.

    (2) The exception provided by subsection (1)(f) of this section does not apply if the firearm was in or carried to and from an area designated for use in a lawful hunting, fishing or other sporting event and the firearm is of the type commonly used in the activity.

    HISTORY: SOURCES: Laws, 1986, ch. 471, § 2; Laws, 2006, ch. 450, § 1, eff from and after July 1, 2006.

  2. Elaine Vechorik Says:

    You tell ‘em Elaine. Go Girl!

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