Virginia Bill Advocated by Family of Murdered Teen to Hold Parents Accountable for Gun Use by Minors Advances in State Senate

RICHMOND, Va. – The Virginia State Senate recently moved forward with a bill that seeks to impose consequences on parents if their minor child uses their firearm to commit a crime. The proposed legislation, SB 44, was put forth by State Senator Schuyler VanValkenburg (D-Henrico) and aims to charge parents with a felony if their child gains access to their gun and is deemed a threat to themselves or others, or has been involved in certain violent juvenile felonies.

The push for this bill comes from Meredith Bremer, the mother of 13-year-old Lucia Bremer, who tragically lost her life after being shot nine times while walking home from school in western Henrico County last year. The perpetrator, a 14-year-old boy, used a loaded handgun that was found in his home.

In a heartfelt plea to lawmakers, Meredith Bremer emphasized the need for accountability, stating that “Lucia died on the floor of a garage while I stroked her hair and tried to will her back to life.” She expressed her shock and pain that, under current Virginia law, the gun owner who failed to secure his firearm would not be held accountable in any way.

Despite the emotional plea, the bill garnered bipartisan support and passed without opposition, with some Republicans voting in favor. While the Second Amendment advocacy group Virginia Citizens Defense League has expressed some concerns with the language of the bill, they generally support the concept of holding individuals accountable for harm caused by their negligence.

The goal for Lucia Bremer’s parents is to prevent other families from experiencing the same pain they have endured. Jonathan Bremer, Lucia’s father, stressed the urgency of the issue, highlighting the toll that injuries and trauma caused by firearms have taken on the people of Virginia.

In a parallel development, a similar measure has been proposed in the House of Delegates, signaling a growing momentum for legislative action on the issue of accountability regarding firearm access for minors.