The state of California is known for having some of the stricter gun laws in the country. Look at San Francisco, for example, which passed Proposition H in 2005, which temporarily banned handguns within the city. Then there is the story of High Bridge Arms, San Francisco’s last gun shop, which went out of business in October of 2015 due to overbearing state and municipal regulations. The state of California is now looking to hold irresponsible owners accountable for gun-related accidents. The best way to protect yourself legally is to keep your guns locked away and practice the following steps:
Firearms and Children
In an effort to combat the growing number of children who have access to firearms in their houses, California has decided to seek criminal charges for gun owners who fail to keep firearms out of reach of children. The crime is called “criminal storage of a firearm”, and it is a serious offense that can result in three years in prison, depending on the severity of the situation.
A firearm owner can be charged with criminal storage of a firearm when he or she keeps a loaded gun in a place where a minor can easily access the weapon. It is aimed to hold the defendant accountable for not properly securing the weapon. California Penal Code 25105 dictates that the defendant must take reasonable steps to keep his or her firearm out of reach of minors. This also applies if the minors are not your children, but visit your house regularly. Even if you keep your firearm in a drawer in your master bedroom, if it is not locked away and a minor reaches it, you are at risk of facing criminal charges. The consequences of violating this code depend on the outcome of the situation. If a child happened to gain access to an unlocked gun and used it, resulting in injury or death, the penalties are much more severe. However, this doesn’t mean that you are going to be charged for negligence if your firearm is taken by a minor and subsequently used. As long as you can prove that you took the necessary measures to store and secure your weapon, you will not need the services of a criminal lawyer. The following are situations where you cannot be convicted of criminal firearm negligence:
If the child illegally gained entrance into your house and stole your firearm.
If you keep your guns locked away and it was accessed from a secured location, like a safe or locked drawer
If your gun was equipped with a locking device.
If your profession requires that you carry a handgun, and it was stolen while you were on duty.
If a child obtains and uses the firearm as a means of self-defense.
If the defendant had no reason to expect children to be on his or her premises.
The best way to prevent any unfortunate firearm-related accidents is to practice good firearm safety. Keep your guns locked away, and don’t tell the combination to anyone other than your spouse or partner. You can also equip your weapons with trigger locks, and keep ammunition stored separately. By practicing gun safety, you are helping reduce the number of shootings and firearm-related accidents.