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Dangerous Weapons Appear at Tacoma Mini-Marts

TACOMA, Wash. -- Dangerous weapons, from daggers to Taser guns, have started showing up in Tacoma convenience stores, reported Seattle-based KING 5 News.

One mini-mart is selling throwing stars, with razor-sharp edges that could be deadly. Now, some neighborhood groups and Tacoma City Council members say it's time for convenience stores to throw the weapons out.

One south Tacoma shop owner didn't want his face on camera, but he showed KING 5 his merchandise. Just across from the candy bars are enough weapons to arm a platoon of medieval warriors: daggers, swords, throwing stars, brass knuckles, crossbows and even a Taser gun. The owner said the merchandise is mostly decorative and insists he does not sell to minors.

None of that matters to resident Mary Boone, a member of Tacoma's North Slope Neighborhood Association. She wants a ban on weapons in convenience stores. "I want somebody to have a preconceived thought about why they want a knife and drive to a store and buy it -- not just walk into a convenience store after they've had a few beers and buy a knife in a neighborhood."

Tacoma City Council member Connie Laddenburg says she's working on a way to eliminate the convenient access to weapons. "This is something I don't want to see explode and get out of control," she said.

One Tacoma pawnshop owner opposes a ban. "I don't know what's wrong with any of those things," said Warren Barde of Randy's Loan and Pawn. He says the ban would be unfair for a lot of reasons, especially since it would likely only target small stores. "I don't care how big the store is or how small the store is -- that has nothing to do with it," he said. "If I can sell knives, everybody can sell knives that wants to."

Some the items bought by KING 5 are actually already illegal but police say the current law is so confusing it's not enforceable. A public safety committee for Tacoma's Council plans to take this issue up in two weeks.
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