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Tue, July 23

Town code on weapon usage protects people

Sometimes the most innocuous-seeming articles can cause big trouble. For example, even a slingshot conceivably can get a person arrested in Prescott Valley – for good reason. Someone can get hurt.

Town code prohibits intentionally, knowingly or recklessly discharging a weapon within the Town of Prescott Valley. Discharging means simply to expel a projectile from a weapon. Breaking this law is a class 1 misdemeanor.

The code defines a weapon as anything designed for lethal use. The term includes any firearm, explosive, bow and arrow, crossbow, BB gun, air gun, pellet gun, dart gun, slingshot, gas-operated gun and prohibited weapons. The code states "firearm means any loaded or unloaded pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun or other weapon which will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile."

It is also unlawful to carry a weapon in Town parks, playgrounds and outdoor recreation areas (except for those with concealed weapon permits). Minors, unaccompanied by guardians (parents, grandparents or legal guardians), are prohibited from carrying or transporting firearms into a public place or private property, except the guardian's property. Exceptions exist for lawful hunting or marksmanship events.

Furthermore, it is unlawful for anyone other than a guardian to give or sell to a minor without consent a weapon, ammunition or a toy pistol which can discharge dangerous and explosive substances.

For an unlawful unloaded firearm, a person may face a fine up to $250 and loss of a driver's license or be unable to obtain a driver's license until age 18. For a loaded firearm, the fine goes up to $500 with the same possibilities of loss of driver's license.

Plus, if a guardian knew or reasonably should have known of the minor's conduct with a weapon and made no effort to prohibit the actions, the guardian may be considered responsible.

Of course, there are other lawful exceptions to the prohibitions. For more information, visit the Town's website, www.pvaz.net, then go to Town Code and Offenses.

The Prescott Valley Police Department recorded 525 weapons-related offenses in 2003, including deadly weapons as well as the misdemeanor offenses. So far in 2004, PVPD has seen four misdemeanor cases, all involving juveniles, with six types of weapons, including paint ball, air and BB guns.

PVPD officer Jennifer Miller said many incidents involving projectile weapons remain unsolved, such as homes hit by paint balls or that have windows shot out by BBs. These cases may carry multiple offense charges, as they involve vandalism, criminal damage and illegal discharge of a weapon, and go beyond innocent childish pranks.

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