Reno, Nevada, is cracking down on the use and possession of whips in the greater downtown area. Pedestrians and traffic on Virginia Street on Thursday, March 27, 2014, in downtown Reno, Nev., where local tourism officials say visitors spent more money and stayed longer last year than they did two years ago. The Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority said a new survey shows gamblers still drive the Reno-Tahoe market but outdoor recreation and sightseeing in the Sierra are bringing more families and others to the region. (AP Photo/Scott Sonner) Scott Sonner

Reno bans possession and use of whips without permit

Elizabeth Faddis October 14, 06:28 PM October 14, 06:28 PM

Reno, Nevada, is cracking down on the use and possession of whips in the greater downtown area.

The city council unanimously passed an ordinance on Tuesday that makes it unlawful to carry, possess, or use a whip within the downtown corridor without a permit. The ordinance also prohibits cracking a whip to cause harm, annoyance, or to disturb the general peace of the residents within city limits.

The ordinance makes carrying, possessing, or using a whip in the downtown area of the city a misdemeanor offense.

Public citizens and the Reno Police Department raised concerns at the city council meeting on Aug. 25 over the growing usage of whips being used for intimidation, fighting, and the practice of “cracking” whips, which results in a sound similar to that of a gunshot, according to a staff report.


In recent years, the amount of calls made to Reno police has skyrocketed.

From January to September 2019, there were 63 calls made regarding the use of whips. Following this, 103 calls were made between January and September 2020, and 176 calls have been made from January 2021 to the present.

The staff report also said two officers are normally dispatched for these calls, and it often takes “valuable” time away from the department and from citizens who are in need.

Kauai County, Hawaii, enacted similar restrictions in 2018, also banning the use of whips in public spaces.

Both Kauai and Reno counties enacted their respective ordinances by defining whips as weapons, according to the Reno staff report.


The ordinance faced backlash from the ACLU of Nevada.

Holly Wellborn, the group’s policy director, explained that the ordinance is “too broad” and that it targets a specific community.

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