Farmington Hills Officials Table Changes to Firearms Ordinance
Officials ask for new language that would not punish responsible bow sports enthusiasts.
For Farmington Hills Mayor Pro Tem Nancy Bates, the question of whether to ban using a bow or crossbow within city limits came down to a letter.
At Monday night's City Council meeting, she asked her colleagues to table proposed changes to the city's firearms ordinance that would include bows and crossbows in the citywide ban on discharging firearms. Bates said the letter-writer made a convincing argument about penalizing 100 percent of people for the actions of a few.
"I'm wondering if there's a way to do this so we make certain we're not doing an overreaction," Bates said, noting that the bow sports could be safe in some areas of the city. "There's still a little 'farm' in Farmington."
Under the current ordinance, people can use bows and crossbows within city limits, but with restrictions. The weapons can't be fired within 100 yards of any building, in any city park, subdivision or across a road. The issue came to light when residents reported deer wandering through a south Farmington Hills neighborhood with arrows in their bodies.
The new ordinance is based on a discussion officials had during a study session last month.
Council member Randy Bruce said the change was "not meant to be an anti-hunting ordinance." When a bow hunter shoots a deer, he said, usually the deer does not immediately die but must be tracked to complete the kill. Wounded deer may wander onto other private property or into roadways, he said.
"It really doesn't fit having to bow-and-arrow hunt an animal that size in the city," he said.
Council member Michael Bridges agreed, saying he doesn't want Farmington Hills to become a city known for hunting. "I'm concerned about errant projectiles that may endanger our citizens," he said.
But council member Ken Massey said he was moved by Bates' argument to support tabling the issue. Mayor Barry Brickner also favored tabling in order to clarify an exception to the ban in the new ordinance, which would allow the use of bows and crossbows on an approved range.
City attorney Steve Joppich said he would work with the Farmington Hills Police Department to determine what would be reasonable standards for a range. Brickner pointed out there's no real rush to finalize the ordinance, as it would not take effect during this bow-hunting season, which ends Jan. 1.
Clarification: A sentence that reported an exception to the proposed bow and crossbow ban has been clarified. The exception allows the use of those weapons on approved ranges.