The Jackson City Council has approved an ordinance that would hold parents or legal guardians accountable if their child commits a crime with a handgun, granting law enforcement the ability to give parents jail time or a fine for each offense.
In May, Councilman Aaron Banks proposed the city implement an ordinance he created in June 2019 that would hold the parents criminally accountable in response to the gradual uptick in crimes committed by juveniles across the capital city.
Originally, Banks’ ordinance would require a parent or guardian to serve 24 hours in the county jail and pay a $500 fine for the child’s first offense, with the amount of jail time and fine increasing with each offense.
Now, the ordinance would charge parents, guardians, or custodians who, “have knowingly caused, encouraged or aided a minor who is less than 18 years of age to possess or carry any handgun, firearm or illegal weapon,” with a misdemeanor. Those who are charged for violating the ordinance could face up to six months in jail or a fine of $1,000.
Following a discussion during a meeting in June, the city council declined to vote on the ordinance after Councilman Vernon Hartley voiced his hesitancy about the topic. The vote was then pushed to the July meeting where it was later approved by the council.