Wherever you are on the political spectrum, there’s no denying that guns can and do kill people. To reduce the risk to children and those prohibited from using firearms having access to these dangerous weapons, California has enacted several laws that dictate how they are stored and transported. The City of San Diego has passed a stricter local ordinance detailing proper methods of storing firearms. While it is always best to know these laws in advance to avoid running afoul of the law, anyone facing criminal charges for improper storage of a firearm should immediately contact a skilled criminal defense attorney.
Do guns have to be stored in a safe in California?
not always. In some homes, guns can be left completely unlocked, but under California Penal Code Section 25100 (PC), it is illegal to leave a firearm where a minor could potentially access it without their parents’ permission. This law also requires that your gun be fully secured if you live with someone who is prohibited from using firearms under state or federal law, which can include anyone who has:
- Condemnation of domestic violence
- Felony conviction
- Gang crime conviction
- Hate crime conviction
- A restraining order against them
- A temporary gun violence restraining order under California’s red flag laws
While the California Attorney General It recommends that unloaded firearms be secured with a trigger lock and stored in a secured gun safe in a different location than the ammunition, and you are not legally required to follow all of these suggestions to comply with the law. Instead, Section 25100(PC) applies only when a person “negligently stores or leaves a firearm in a location where the person knows, or reasonably should know, that a child is likely to have access to the firearm without permission.” From the child’s father.”
Can you store guns and ammunition together in California?
Just as you are not legally required to keep your firearm in a safe in California, you can store a loaded handgun with ammunition. However, every measure you take to prevent unauthorized access to a firearm can keep your child safe and strengthen your defense if a juvenile gains access to a gun.
California law for safe storage of weapons kept in the home
There are three different levels of fees under 25,100 (PC). The smallest charge, “third-degree criminal storage of a firearm,” applies when someone keeps an unlocked firearm in an area where a child is likely to access it without parental permission. Note that at this level, the crime does not apply to those living with individuals who are prohibited from obtaining firearms, however, the same acts are a crime under 25135 (PC).
When a child or person prohibited from using a weapon accesses a weapon that is not properly secured, second-degree charges may be filed if:
- They carry weapons into a public place
- Use it in a way that causes mild or moderate injury to themselves or another person
A first-degree charge will apply if a minor or individual prohibited from using firearms accesses and uses an unsecured weapon to cause death or serious bodily injury to himself or herself or another person.
What are the penalties for violating CA gun storage laws?
Third- and second-degree criminal storage of a firearm violations are misdemeanors, punishable by up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine. Second-degree charges are also misdemeanors, punishable by up to one year in prison.
In first-degree cases, when an individual causes injury or death to themselves or another person, the crime is wavering, meaning it can be filed as a misdemeanor or a felony. As a misdemeanor, it is punishable by no more than one year in prison, but as a felony, the maximum penalty is three years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. A defense attorney may be able to convince the prosecutor to file the charges as a misdemeanor, depending on the situation.
The law takes into account the guilt and pain a parent would feel if their child shot someone, which is why parents of children who have been shot cannot be arrested for criminal storage of a firearm until at least seven days have passed after the crime. shooting. In addition, the prosecution must prove gross negligence if the child who shot himself or others obtained the gun because his parents were negligent in storing it.
On top of criminal penalties, a parent could face civil damages if their child injures another person after obtaining their firearm. State law caps damages at $30,000 per victim, with a maximum of $60,000 in total damages.
Fight the charges
You cannot be charged with this crime simply because a child or someone prohibited from possessing a firearm gains access to your gun. Instead, to prove these charges, the prosecution must be able to prove the following:
- That the defendant knew (or should have known) that the minor was likely to have access to it without his or her parents’ permission (or, in applicable first- and second-degree cases, that an adult prohibited from using weapons was likely to have access to the firearm)
- That the defendant neglected to take reasonable steps to secure the weapon
The law specifically prohibits bringing charges in the following cases:
- The child (or adult prohibited from using firearms) obtained the gun by unlawfully entering someone’s home
- The gun was kept in a locked safe
- The weapon was secured with a locking mechanism
- The firearm was on the defendant’s body or in the immediate vicinity
- If the juvenile uses a weapon in self-defense or in defense of others
- The defendant had good reason not to expect a child (or an individual who had been stripped of his gun rights) to be on his property
As a result, there are several strong defenses to these charges. If you didn’t know that a child or someone prohibited from using firearms was going to visit your home, or break into your home, you have an automatic defense. If you used a trigger lock or kept the gun in a safe, room, counter, or other secure area, you cannot be convicted.
On the other hand, saying that you trained your child in proper gun safety techniques and believed that he or she would not use a firearm in an unsafe manner would only be viewed as an admission to the charges. Because it is easy to say something that could be used against you, always have an attorney present if you are accused of this crime.
San Diego Firearms Safe Storage Law
While the state requires those who potentially have a child entering their home to use gun or safe locks, San Diego is taking things a step further And it requires everyone Firearm owners do this. If you live in the city of San Diego or one of the outlying areas of the county, you are legally required to use a trigger lock or safe to secure a gun in your home when it is not under your direct control.
The requirement requires that all weapons in homes or buildings near the home be secured with a trigger lock or locked in a container. The only exception is if the firearm is under the direct control of a licensed person. This law is considered a violation, meaning it is only punishable by a fine.
Notably, other cities in San Diego, such as La Mesa, Del Mar, Encinitas, and Solana Beach, all have their own safe storage laws, so it is wise to consider your local gun laws if you purchase or own a firearm.
Can you keep a gun in your glove box in California?
no. California has very specific laws when it comes to how firearms are transported from one place to another, and these laws vary based on whether the weapon is a handgun, rifle, shotgun, or assault rifle. In order to take a gun in your car, for example, Penal Code 25610 (PC) requires you to store the firearm unconcealed and unloaded in the trunk of your car or elsewhere in the vehicle within a locked container, such as a gun safe. You cannot store a firearm inside the glove box of your vehicle.
If the vehicle does not have a fully locked trunk that can be opened away from the passenger compartment, the weapon must be stored in a locked container. Note that trigger locks are not considered locked containers, so when transporting a gun in a vehicle, you should store the weapon in a trunk or lock box, such as a safe, even if you have the trigger lock in place.
For weapons that cannot be concealed, such as rifles or shotguns, the state does not require that such weapons be stored in a locking container or gun rack unless the vehicle enters a school zone, which is any zone within 1,000 feet of a school. It still has to be unloaded during transportation. Assault weapons must be stored unloaded in a locked container.
If you have been charged with violating local or state gun storage laws, please call (760) 643-4050 as soon as possible to schedule a free initial consultation with Peter M. Liss.