Numbers are in: Enforcing Brendon's Law - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

Numbers are in: Enforcing Brendon's Law


With Brendon's Law, police are hoping to deter people from participating in celebratory gunfire.

They know they won't be able to stop it altogether but want people to understand the serious consequences they will face if a bullet does hit someone.

On July 1,  the existing law for reckless handling of a firearm in Virginia changed, adding a new statute. That statute is Brendon's Law, named for Brendon Mackie, who died last year after being hit by celebratory gunfire.

"If you handle a gun dangerously and you injure someone in a way that causes serious and permanent physical injury,  that is a felony. It caries up to five years in prison," attorney Steve Benjamin said.

On July 4 in Chesterfield County, 17 people called complaining about gunfire between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. the next morning. Nine of those calls were determined to be actual fireworks, eight police say were in fact gunshots.

No injuries were reported and no one was charged under Brendon's Law. Maj. Kevin Smith with Chesterfield Police says the number of calls appear to be similar to last year.

He's hoping with Brendon's Law, more people will think twice before firing off guns to celebrate.

"We've been telling people for years not to do it," he said. "It wasn't until Brendon's death that we had an actual victim to point to and say this is the result to celebratory gunfire," Kevin Smith said.

Smith says he and his team are using what they've learned from the Fourth of July to zero in on areas where they received the highest number of calls.

In Richmond, there were 49 reported calls of gunfire between 9 p.m. July 4 to 2 a.m. July 5. Richmond Police are still sifting through information and there are no reports at this time of anyone being charged under Brendon's Law.

No citations and charges were given over the weekend in Henrico County.

Maj. Smith says they have no problem enforcing the law. They first have to catch the culprits

"A lot of we rely on people who actually saw someone firing a weapon into the air," Smith said.

With the Fourth of July out of the way, Chesterfield Police will now shift their attention toward New Year's Eve, their biggest holiday for celebratory gunfire.

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