Virginia Senate Advances Bill to Hold Parents Accountable for Minors’ Gun Crimes

RICHMOND, Va. — A bill aimed at holding parents accountable if their child uses their gun in a crime has cleared the Virginia State Senate. The proposed legislation, known as SB 44 and authored by State Senator Schuyler VanValkenburg (D-Henrico), seeks to charge parents with a felony if their child gains access to their gun in specific circumstances, such as being deemed a threat by a school assessment or having a history of violent juvenile felonies.

This bill comes in the wake of the tragic shooting of 13-year-old Lucia Bremer, who was fatally shot while walking home from school in Henrico County in 2021. The young girl’s mother, Meredith Bremer, has been advocating for the bill, emphasizing the importance of ensuring that parents are held responsible for securing their firearms from dangerous minors. She shared a heart-wrenching account of the devastating loss of her daughter and the impact of the adult gun owner’s failure to secure the firearm.

The bill, which received bipartisan support and was passed without opposition, has drawn some concerns from Second Amendment advocates, who expressed support for the broader idea of holding individuals accountable for negligently causing harm.

This push for legislation to address gun violence and firearm safety is a response to the growing toll of injuries and trauma caused by firearms and aims to prevent similar tragedies in the future. A similar measure has also been proposed in the House of Delegates, further highlighting the urgency of this issue.