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Thursday, August 15, 2013

State Senator Marsh Seeks New Law After July 4 Death of Chesterfield 7 Year-Old

I've not posted previously about this truly tragic death that occurred after some idiot discharged a firearm into the air in an apparent celebratory act on Independence Day because it is not something that is 2nd Amendment related.   It was a senseless act that law-abiding gun owners know should never be done.

For background, this has become an increasing problem in Chesterfield County where I live.  Firing indiscriminately into the air in celebration is something practiced in a number of Third World countries.  The influx of people into the county from locations that fit that description has caused consternation to citizens in some neighborhoods on dates like July 4th and New Years Eve because apparently these new arrivals don't seem to understand that not only is the practice unsafe, it is illegal.

On July 4th of this year, a seven year-old boy, Brendon Mackey, was walking with his family to a fireworks display and was struck in the head by what police say was a .40 bullet fired into the air from somewhere within 5000 ft of the area.  The boy died the next day.  Police have yet to identify the individual responsible.  Police, aided by BATFE agents, have canvassed the surrounding area asking residents if they heard something around the time of the incident and if they could describe from where they heard it.  The only real way they will likely find the culprit is if someone comes forward, something that hasn't happened to date.

Now, State Sen. Henry L. Marsh III is proposing "Brendon's Law" to stiffen penalties for people who randomly discharge firearms into the air and for injuries or deaths that result from the act.  Currently, localities have the ability to ban the discharge of firearms within certain distances of businesses or dwellings.  In the case of Chesterfield, the violation of the county ordinance prohibiting discharge within 600 feet of a (i) dwelling of another; (ii) business establishment; (iii) public building; (iv) public gathering; or (v) public meeting place carries up-to a $1000 fine. There is an exemption for discharging a firearm in self-defense.

As for state law, § 18.2-280 of the code of Virginia states in part:
A. If any person willfully discharges or causes to be discharged any firearm in any street in a city or town, or in any place of public business or place of public gathering, and such conduct results in bodily injury to another person, he shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony (1-5 years in prison and $2500 fine). If such conduct does not result in bodily injury to another person, he shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
So, it would seem state law already covers the incident that occurred on July 4th.  I guess one could argue that the felony should be reclassified to a more serious class. But it looks more like a well known anti-Second Amendment legislator taking an opportunity use a tragic death to grandstand against firearms and gun owners.

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