Storms possible this weekend

Lawmaker proposes bill to prohibit selling crossbows to children after Oklahoma boy’s death

OKLAHOMA CITY – Lawmakers at the Oklahoma State Capitol are considering a bill that would make it illegal to sell or give a child a crossbow.

Officials say the bill was created following the tragic death of a 10-year-old boy in October.

Just before 6 p.m. on Oct. 21st, deputies were called to a Lincoln County home  in reference to two young boys being shot with a crossbow.

When officials arrived, they found 10-year-old Austin Almanza dead at the scene.

Austin Almanza

Officials say 8-year-old Ayden Almanza was also injured by the crossbow, adding that the arrow was still in the boy’s arm when they got to the scene.

Officials said a 13-year-old boy, not related to the victims, fired the crossbow.

“Traveled across his body and exited over here on the right side, striking Ayden who was standing behind him,” Lincoln County Sheriff Charles Dougherty told KFOR.

Last month, 13-year-old Shane Brooks was charged with first-degree murder in Austin’s death.

Now, an Oklahoma lawmaker says he is working to make sure a crime like this never happens again.

House Bill 3369, which is known as Austin Almanza’s Law, would make it illegal for a child to be sold or given a crossbow unless it is used for hunting animals or fowl or hunter safety classes.

The measure also states that parents cannot intentionally give a crossbow to a child if they are aware of the “substantial risk that the child will use the weapon to commit a criminal offense or if the child has either been adjudicated a delinquent or has been convicted as an adult for any criminal offense that contains as an element that threat or use of physical force.”

During Wednesday’s hearing, that author of the bill, Rep. Kevin Wallace, stressed that the bill would not apply to hunters.

“It would not restrict your youth from ever hunting with a crossbow but they would have to have the proper hunting training, adult supervision,” said Rep. Wallace.

However, others questioned just how far the bill would actually go to protect children.

“A parent can give it to a child, so even if we passed this, it would not have prevented what happened on that tragic day,” said Rep. Cory Williams.

The measure passed the House Judiciary Committee 14 to 7.

There is no word yet on when it could be heard on the House floor.