Northwest NEWS

December 18, 2000

Editorial

Kudos to Council for prohibiting crossbow sales to minors

Back in July, I wrote a letter to the Carnation City Council requesting an ordinance prohibiting children under the age of 18 from being able to purchase crossbows. Since that letter was written, the council has passed an ordinance prohibiting minors from purchasing crossbows or other potentially dangerous weapons. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the council for playing a leadership role in this matter.
   There are those who believe that we have enough laws regarding weapons. When it comes to children, I believe we should do everything we reasonably can to ensure their safety. Apparently the council agrees. They made it illegal for minors to purchase weapons which are "designed or constructed to inflict bodily injury or property damage." The intent of my request to the council was not to deprive minors from using crossbows, the intent was to make it illegal for a minor to acquire these weapons on their own. It forces the child to consult with their parent prior to acquiring such a weapon. All I ever wanted was simply to be able to talk to my child regarding weapon safety prior to him owning a crossbow rather than having him acquire the weapon without my knowledge and potentially using it in an unsafe manner simply because we did not have an opportunity to discuss safety. I am sure that any parent would feel the same way.
   The new law does not make it illegal for a minor to use any of these weapons, whether it is a BB gun, slingshot or crossbow, on private property. The new law does make it illegal for these weapons to be used on our public streets or in our public parks. Is that so unreasonable?
   I am a faithful reader of the Valley View newspaper. My favorite part of the paper are the letters to the editor. In the Nov. 27 issue of The Valley View, I read a letter to the editor in which a gentleman made some observations regarding Carnation's new law with which I disagree.The gentleman pointed out that a sixteen-year-old can drive a three-thousand pound car at 100 mph, but a seventeen-year-old cannot buy a BB gun or crossbow. That is like comparing apples and oranges. For one, sir, no one can legally drive a car at 100 mph on our public streets. Also, that same sixteen year old you speak of who could potentially drive a car 100 mph cannot buy the car. That is my point. His or her parents are legally liable and must be the ones who legally buy the car, therefore the parents are aware that the child is in possession of the car and are able to talk to the child about safety issues regarding the car so that he doesn't drive 100 mph.
   The writer went on to say that "kids in the valley play with slingshots and BB guns." I'm sure that is true. The difference between his kids and mine will be that at least I will know if my kids are in possession of such weapons ahead of time. He will find out after his kids have hurt somebody.
   Just in case any of you are wondering, my son still has his crossbow. We did not throw it away or destroy it, or even keep him from it. We did, however, have ample opportunity to discuss crossbow safety with him. Oh, by the way, Charlton Heston is my president.
   Mark Babcock, Carnation