Celebratory Gunfire in Virginia
In 2013, Independence Day started as it always did for a little boy named Brendon Mackey. He and his father were walking to a fireworks show later that night when a stray bullet hit Brendon in the top of the head, killing him a few hours later. Brendon’s death wasn’t deliberate. While thousands of people die from gun-related deaths in the United States every year, Brendon’s case was accidental. If you’ve ever lived in a city where most people own firearms, particularly on July 4th or New Year’s Eve, you’ve probably heard the distinct sounds of gunfire, shouting, and cheering signaling the gun’s owner is reveling. Shooting guns into the air in celebration of an event is a worldwide practice, but bullets that go up must come down. The very nature of gravity ensures that all bullets launched into the air fall, allowing the projectiles to hit and damage people, animals, and property.
What Are the Penalties?
Many places in the United States have outlawed celebratory gunfire, including Arizona, California, Minnesota, Ohio, Texas, Wisconsin, and Virginia. Some states list the crime as a misdemeanor, while states like Virginia count celebratory gunfire as a felony. People charged with a reckless gunfire felony can face up to 5 years in prison or 12 months in jail with a fine of $2,500. In addition to legal repercussions, anyone who has carelessly fired a gun into the air must live with the fact that his or her bullets may be responsible for potentially injuring or killing a human being or pet. The Virginia Senate passed Brendon’s Law, or HB810, in response to his death in order to prevent such tragedies from happening again. And while statistics show that celebratory gunfire deaths and injuries are decreasing, they still happen.
If you have been injured as a result of celebratory gunfire, or you know someone who has, you may be entitled to compensation. Call one of our Virginia Beach personal injury attorneys or fill out your case information online to schedule a free consultation.