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Family Upset After Crossbow Legislation Fails In State House

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Austin’s family was in the house gallery when the bill failed. Austin’s family was in the house gallery when the bill failed.

A bill that would have made it illegal for children to possess crossbows dies in the House of Representatives.

The bill is named for 10-year-old Austin Almanza of Chandler who was killed when a 13-year-old allegedly shot him with a crossbow given to him by his mother just a day earlier. That 13-year-old is charged with murder.

Read Related Story: One Boy Dead, His Brother Injured After Crossbow Shooting In Lincoln Co.  

Austin’s family was in the house gallery when the bill failed. They had a hard time keeping their composure when the bill failed.

“It should be against the law to give your kids weapons to go play with. She bought that weapon and gave it to him. He killed my grandson the next day with it,” said Austin’s grandmother, Donna Jarnagin.

Police said the 13-year-old had been fighting with Almanza when he shot the arrow. The 13-year-old told police he was hunting and this was an accident.

The bill would have made it illegal for a child to possess a crossbow, unless it was being used for hunting or training. Opponents say that would make it a tough case to prosecute.

“It also has language that makes it impossible for a district attorney to prosecute and get a conviction on this. Why would we do that?” asked Representative David Perryman (D) Caddo County.

Bill author Representative Kevin Wallace (R) Lincoln County responded, “As a district attorney, you have the statute and you’re telling me that you cannot prosecute someone for violating the statute. I think that we need to look for a new DA.”

Austin’s family said they’re not giving up.

Read Related Story: Mother Of Boy Killed By Crossbow Speaks Out

“I don’t want this to happen to someone else’s family,” Jarnagin said. “We can do something maybe in the future to keep it from happening to anybody else.”

Representative Wallace can bring the bill up before March 15, so he has 10 days to change his colleague’s minds. He said he will only bring the bill back to the floor again if he believes he has the votes to get it passed. 

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