House Passes Delegate Carr's Bill on Celebratory Gunfire

STAFF REPORTS | Posted: Wednesday, March 5, 2014 12:00 am

The House of Delegates unanimously passed a measure Tuesday that would make celebratory gunfire within 2 miles of any occupied building a Class 6 felony if it causes serious bodily injury resulting in permanent and significant physical impairment of a bystander.

House Bill 810, sponsored by Del. Betsy B. Carr, D-Richmond, is dubbed “Brendon’s Law,” after 7-year-old Brendon Mackey of Chesterfield County. He was killed by a random descending bullet while walking with his father at a fireworks show July 4. The shooter has never been identified.

Last month, the state Senate passed HB 810 by a 27-13. At that point the bill included provisions that would have made it a felony to randomly fire a gun into the air, hitting or killing someone, and a misdemeanor worth up to a year in jail if no one is hurt.

But a House criminal laws subcommittee gutted the proposal, leaving only the Class 6 felony provision intact. The same committee took on an identical measure sponsored by Sen. Henry L. Marsh, III, D-Richmond, conforming it to Carr’s bill.