Should saggy pants be belted with ban?

HARDEEVILLE — John O’Neil Smith walked down Main Street in Hardeeville, S.C., last week wearing flashy sneakers, a hat tilted to the side and jeans seven inches below his hips.

Smith, 22, of Bluffton, was sagging his pants in broad daylight, violating a new Jasper County ordinance.

“Some people don’t wear regular size clothes,” Smith said. “You got out of bed this morning, I ain’t telling you how to put your clothes on, ya feel me? It’s no disrespect or nothing like that. It’s just a fashion.”

Jasper County Council passed an ordinance Dec. 15 banning people from wearing baggy pants, joining several local governments across the country.

The county made it illegal for someone to wear pants in public more than 3 inches below the hips, “thereby exposing his or her skin or intimate clothing.”

State Sen. Robert Ford, D-Charleston, wants to outlaw saggy pants statewide. Ford pre-filed a bill to ban people from wearing saggy pants, using the same three-inch measurement.

While Ford’s bill doesn’t specify penalties, he said hundreds of dollars in fines and up to 30 days in jail would be appropriate.

“The whole culture’s deviant. We have lost control of our young people. I think men should be made to look like gentlemen.”

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