Sunset Hills updates city code to permit crossbows for hunting

Updated city ordinance is consistent with state law

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By Lucas Irizarry, Staff Reporter

The Sunset Hills Board of Aldermen amended the city’s deer control policy to allow crossbows to be used within city limits Aug. 24.

Ward 3 Alderman Randy Epperson said the original bill was passed eight years ago with the intention it would follow Missouri hunting guidelines. The state legalized crossbow hunting in 2016 and Epperson wanted Sunset Hills’ law to reflect the change, albeit five years later.

“Crossbows are now considered an archery device — they were declassified as a firearm,” Epperson said. “A firearm is any weapon that is designed to expel a projectile via an explosion.”

City Attorney Robert Jones said the city can be more restrictive if it wishes, with no repercussions from the state. Originally crossbows were banned because they fire much harder than a traditional bow.

The ordinance also allows anyone born before 1967 to hunt in city limits without a Hunter Safety Course certificate of completion.

Two residents spoke out against the ordinance while it was in discussion. Sandra Ankney said it made sense for the state of Missouri to allow crossbows, as it governs a massive amount of low population land, but not for the densely populated city of Sunset Hills to do so.

“It is unreasonable and unsafe for the suburban city of Sunset Hills to approve the use of crossbows for archery hunting within the city limits,” Ankney stated. “The city’s approved compound bow is an efficient lethal weapon. A crossbow is also a lethal weapon … unlike a compound bow, a crossbow is a point and shoot trigger release.”

Ankney said this type of release could lead to more deadly accidents while hunting.

Jessica Hoeman also cited the safety concerns a crossbow would come with. She said she already keeps her property off limits from hunters and a crossbow legalization would only aggravate concerns she had before.

“I believe homeowners, including me, are at more risk if a powerful crossbow is used in the future,” Hoeman said. “I believe the crossbow should not be allowed or the minimum acreage requirement should be increased.”