Chandler City Council passes 2 new laws banning brass knuckles, unruly gatherings

May 24, 2024, 11:18 AM | Updated: 11:29 am

Two ordinances in Chandler could cut down on youth violence...

The Chandler City Council passed the ordinances on May 23, 2024. (File photos: Gilbert PD, Chandler City Council, Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

(File photos: Gilbert PD, Chandler City Council, Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Chandler leaders hope to cut down on youth violence in their city. That’s why they passed two ordinances to fight the issue on Thursday night.

The Chandler City Council’s unanimous vote prohibits unruly gatherings — and it also forbids minors from having brass knuckles.

The two ordinances address critical aspects of two high-profile youth violence cases in the East Valley.

The new laws will take effect on June 24.

What role do unruly gatherings, brass knuckles play in youth violence cases?

Firstly, an unruly gathering at a house party in Queen Creek led to a scuffle between two friend groups. The tension led to a brutal group assault on 16-year-old Preston Lord, who died from his injuries two days later.

Reports describe the scene as chaotic, with around 200 youths partying in the area.

Queen Creek Police Chief Randy Brice said he wants to hold the parents who were home during the party accountable for Lord’s death.

The group of boys who attacked Lord has been connected to a hybrid street gang known as the Gilbert Goons. They’ve been accused of attacking multiple teen victims all over the East Valley.

The Gilbert Police Department, which has been investigating youth violence, explains its active investigations online. Some of these gang violence cases go back to 2022, suggesting the gang has been actively terrorizing families for years.

One East Valley mother, Katey McPherson, confirmed the aura of fear to KTAR News 92.3 FM. She said she won’t let her children go to malls or parties alone due to fear of gang attacks.

Some of the group assaults in East Valley cities involve brass knuckles, according to one victim who shared his story.

Connor Jarnagan, 17, was assaulted while in his vehicle by a group of teenagers outside a Gilbert In-N-Out on Dec. 30, 2022, leaving him bloodied and requiring staples in his head. His attackers used brass knuckles, so he pushed for the Arizona Legislature to ban the weapons in the state.

While the bill didn’t have enough legislative support to pass, several Valley cities are setting their own bans.

The Gilbert Town Council banned brass knuckles on Tuesday. Chandler’s Thursday vote makes it the most recent city to ban the weapons.

How Chandler’s new two ordinances will impact residents

Once the laws go into effect, it will be illegal to permit, organize, host or attend unruly gatherings, according to a city announcement. Police can disperse and cite partygoers. Additionally, people found responsible for these large gatherings can be arrested.

People who police deem responsible for the gathering can be charged with a misdemeanor if any of these happen at the site:

  • Minors possessing or drinking alcohol.
  • Illegal drugs are present.
  • A physical altercation results in an injury.
  • Someone commits a felony under state law.
  • The person found responsible has a previous citation for an unruly gathering within the past 180 days.

If the person responsible for the gathering is under 18, their parents or guardians may be punished instead.

Furthermore, anyone under 18 is forbidden from having brass or metal knuckles. It’s also illegal to sell or give them to minors.

Additionally, both giving brass knuckles to minors and hosting unruly gatherings come with a fine of up to $2,500, six months in jail and three years of probation.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

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Chandler City Council passes 2 new laws banning brass knuckles, unruly gatherings