Firearms; use or display while committing a felony, increases penalty. (HB439)

Introduced By

Del. Scott Lingamfelter (R-Woodbridge)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Use or display of firearm in committing felony; penalty. Increases the mandatory minimum sentences for use or display of a firearm during the commission of certain felonies from three to five years for a first offense and from five to ten years for a second or subsequent offense. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Failed


01/07/2016Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/13/16 16102269D
01/07/2016Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
01/09/2016Impact statement from VCSC (HB439)
01/14/2016Assigned to sub: Subcommittee Criminal Law
02/08/2016Impact statement from DPB (HB439)
02/16/2016Left in Courts of Justice


ACLU-VA Criminal Justice, tracking this bill in Photosynthesis, notes:

The ACLU of Virginia opposes this bill. Among other things, mandatory minimum sentences: increase the effects of existing racial disparities in the criminal justice system, strip judges of the ability to make the sentence fit the crime, empower prosecutors to push defendants into bargaining away their constitutional rights, and unnecessarily increase the prison population. The ACLU of Virginia opposes legislation that would expand or increase mandatory minimum sentences.

Right Way Forward Virginia writes:

Mandatory minimum sentences pervert the criminal justice system by inflating prosecutors' power during plea bargaining and preventing judges from fitting the punishment to the crime and defendant. Harsh sentences destroy families, perpetuate poverty, and lead to overcrowded prisons. Right Way Forward Virginia opposes this bill.