After effectively turning the state blue, lawmakers in Virginia are turning their eyes to gun control, including a section in a new bill that would effectively criminalize a minor using a firearm in a home-defense scenario.
SB18, known as the “Firearms; criminal history record information checks, age requirement, penalty” bill, would take so-called “universal background checks” one step further by making it a crime for a minor (under 18) to have access to firearms and ammunition- even in the home.
According to the bill’s text, “the bill also provides that any person who recklessly leaves a loaded, unsecured firearm in such a manner as to endanger the life or limb of any person under the age of 18 is guilty of a Class 6 felony and that it is a Class 1 misdemeanor for any person knowingly to authorize a child under the age 18 to use a firearm except when the person is under the supervision of an adult.”
For the many “latchkey kids” in Virginia, predominantly those living in the rural part of the state where police response may be up to an hour away, the bill could result in charges being brought up against them or their parents should the need arise to use a firearm for self-defense or even sporting purposes.
Shooting is a popular pastime for young people in Virginia, and current state law makes it a Class 1 misdemeanor for any person knowingly to authorize a child under the age of 12 to use a firearm while unsupervised. The new bill, however, takes those measures even further.
As of the 18th of November, the bill has been prefiled in the state senate and pushed forward to the Committee for Courts of Justice.
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