Shooting into the sky for amusement would come with tougher criminal penalties under legislation approved today by the Virginia Senate.
Richmond Democratic Sen. Henry Marsh’s SB65 -- dubbed “Brendon’s Law” for seven-year-old Brendon Mackey, a Chesterfield County boy killed by a stray bullet July 4 – aims to make celebratory gunfire a felony when a person is killed or wounded by an aimless projectile.
Months later, police still have not identified Mackey’s shooter following an extensive investigation.
Under Marsh’s bill, maximum penalties would be 10- and five-year prison sentences, respectively.
Randomly firing a bullet that lands harmlessly would come with a maximum penalty of one year in jail under the bill. Speaking Friday, Marsh said the bill is not about control of guns, possession of guns or ownership of guns.”
Rather, he said, it gives law enforcement another tool to crack down on incidents of reckless gunfire that police say spike around July 4 and New Year’s Day.
Sen. Richard Stuart, R-Stafford County, spoke against the measure, saying it could have unintended consequences for people who fire weapons in rural parts of the state.
The bill is heading to the pro-gun House of Delegates after passing the Senate on a 24-15 vote.