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Guns Cases Summarized By Accident Lawyer

The cases on this page are decisions of the Virginia Supreme Court summarizd by Brien Roche dealing with the topic of guns and the related topic of personal injury. For more information on gun issues see the pages on Wikipedia.

Guns-Statutes

See Va. Code § 18-2-56.1 as to reckless handling of guns.


See Va. Code § 18-2-279 et seq. as to discharge of firearms.


See Va. Code § 18-2-282 indicating police officer shall not be civilly liable to person being arrested, if he had reason to believe person was pointing or brandishing guns or object similar in appearance with intent of inducing fear.

Guns-Cases

2004 Schlimmer v. Poverty Hunt Club, 268 Va. 74, 597 S.E.2d 43.

Plaintiff shot by another hunter while both were hunting. Shooter was charged with violation of Va. Code § 18.2-56.1(a) making it unlawful for any person to handle recklessly any guns so as to endanger life, limb, or property of any person. Shooter pleaded guilty to that charge. At trial, plaintiff asked for jury instruction on negligence per se. If offered instruction finds any support in credible evidence, its refusal is reversible error. That applied in this case where plaintiff met elements of negligence per se by presenting evidence that shooter violated a statute enacted for public safety, that plaintiff belonged to class of persons for whose benefit the statute was enacted, the harm suffered was of a type against which the statute was designed to protect, and the statutory violation is a cause of the injury. The elements of whether the statute was enacted for public safety and whether the plaintiff was a member of the class of persons for whose benefit the statute was enacted and suffered an injury of the type against which the statute protects are issues decided by the court. The issue of whether the statutory violation was a cause of the injury is a factual issue. Likewise, if the violation of the statute is in dispute, that issue is also for the jury. In this case, it was reversible error not to grant instruction.

1996 Lexie v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 251 Va. 390, 469 S.E.2d 61.

Intentional shooting by person occupying uninsured vehicle does not constitute use of vehicle for purposes of uninsured motorist coverage since causal relationship between incident and employment of vehicle does not exist.

1984 Griffin v. Shively, 227 Va. 317, 315 S.E.2d 210.

Plaintiff knew defendant had significant fear of snakes. Plaintiff left defendant’s place of business to go out to area to obtain snakes. Plaintiff knew defendant had gun with him. Moments later plaintiff flung door open and threw object towards defendant which appeared to be snake. Defendant, believing it to be snake, shot at it and killed plaintiff. Defendant who is guilty of willful and wanton negligence cannot rely upon contributory negligence as defense. This rule is subject to exception that when plaintiff’s contributory negligence itself amounts to willful and wanton conduct, then recovery is barred. In this case jury issue was presented as to whether or not plaintiff was guilty of willful and wanton negligence.

1974 O’Brien v. Snow, 215 Va. 403, 210 S.E.2d 165.

Defendant discharged loaded firearm toward plaintiff’s residence causing damage to its exterior. Plaintiff improperly denied opportunity to prove allegations which would entitle him to award of punitive damages.

1962 Berry v. Hamman, 203 Va. 596, 125 S.E.2d 851.

Police officer, in process of apprehending felon, shoots other officer. Defendant confronted with sudden emergency and acted reasonably under circumstances.

1954 Alvey v. Butchkavitz, 196 Va. 447, 84 S.E.2d 535.

Plaintiff claimed to have been accidentally shot by defendant while cleaning gun. Defendant was employee of co-defendant. Verdict for plaintiff.

1942 Rives v. Bolling, 180 Va. 124, 21 S.E.2d 775.

Police officer is charged with knowledge of danger inherent in handling of loaded guns. Where officer, after cleaning his gun and thinking it was unloaded, twirls it on his finger and it subsequently discharges, these sets of facts clearly present jury question as to negligence.

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Guns Cases Summarized By Accident Lawyer

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