• 61°

City taking the right steps to protect its citizens

Freedom of speech and the right to public demonstration is a critical element of our American system. That doesn’t mean, however, that the safety of others or the ability for police to provide a safe environment should be compromised.

That’s why the City of Oxford has taken a wise and proactive step of amending its public assembly ordinance.

Moving swiftly after the tragic Charlottesville, Virginia last month, Oxford’s mayor and board recognized that a stronger city ordinance was needed and in a hurry to best protect all citizens.

By waiving the typical third reading and 30-day waiting period for updating the ordinance, alderman made it unlawful in Oxford to carry or wear any glass bottles, balloons filled with anything other than helium or air, body armor, bricks, stones, projectile launching equipment — including water guns, operational gas masks or open flame during a parade, public assembly or special event. Additionally, no wooden or metal signs can be carried.

In other words, citizens still have complete freedom of speech and the right to demonstrate. They will not, however, be allowed to bring objects to the demonstration that could threaten others, intentionally or not.

We applaud Oxford Mayor and Board of Alderman for being proactive in the name of safety for all.