DALLAS - After two recent mass shootings in Dallas at large events that did not have permits, the city is working to get large gatherings under control. But some are worried about what kind of impact the plan could have on non-profits or churches.
The Dallas Police Department says the proposed ordinance would not necessarily apply to large church events. Rather, the focus is on for-profit commercial events.
After two mass shootings at large events that should have had permits but did not, Dallas is working on an ordinance that will make violators have to pay.
Mass shooting at field party event left 1 dead, more than a dozen injured in southeast Oak Cliff
Two people were killed, and dozens injured in separate shootings on Cleveland Road and Botham Jean Boulevard. No arrests have been made in either shooting.
Under the new plan, organizers would have to submit a safety plan for events over 100 people. But that raises concern about unintended consequences.
Councilwoman Cara Mendelsohn said the ordinance is not clear enough on that point right now.
"As long as you weren't selling popcorn, okay. But as soon as you start, it might affect them," she said.
"We can look into that," said Dallas Police Asst. Chief Michael Igo.
One of the mass shootings occurred on property in southern Dallas owned by a church, which the city is now suing for alleged ongoing code violations.
The ordinance would have escalating penalties that could end with repeat offenders losing their property.
Councilman Jesse Moreno wanted to know more about the cost of the special event permits.
"I support special events being safe but want it to not be overly burdensome," he said. "Would non-profits have to register as promoters?"
"Registration will be a cost," Igo said. "We haven’t determined the amount yet."
The city council is working to get its new special event ordinance in place quickly before their summer break. There will be an opportunity for the public and stakeholders to weigh in next Tuesday.