In an effort to keep children from playing with dangerous firearms, California has a number of weapons laws detailing how guns should be stored. Because these laws are very flexible based on circumstances, it is critical that anyone accused of violating a gun storage law immediately contact a top Vista criminal lawyer as soon as possible.
It is illegal to store a loaded firearm in California where a minor is likely to gain access without permission of his or her parents. In order to prove these convictions, the prosecution must be able to show that the gun was loaded, that the defendant knew (or should have known) a minor was likely to access it without their parent’s permission and that the defendant neglected to take reasonable steps to secure the weapon. That means that if you kept the gun in a locked safe, room, nightstand or other secure area, you have a strong defense. If you equipped the gun with a locking device, you did nothing wrong. Additionally, your Vista defense attorney can also fight the charges if you had no reason to believe a minor could access the weapon -for example, you do not have children and do not have underage visitors to your home.
Those found guilty of violating gun storage laws may be punished by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. However in cases where a child caused injury or death to himself/herself or another person, or if the minor carried the gun into a public place, the crime may become a felony, punishable by multiple years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. A skilled Vista weapons charge defense lawyer may be able to help keep these charges as a misdemeanor depending on the situation.
The law does take into account the guilt and pain a parent may feel if his or her child has shot someone. This is why parents of children who have been shot due to criminal storage of a firearm cannot be arrested until at least seven days after the shooting. Additionally, the prosecution must prove gross negligence if a child who shot himself, herself or others obtained the gun due to his or her parents’ lax storage.
If you have been accused of violating California’s gun storage laws, whether or not someone has been hurt or not as a result, please call (760) 643-4050 as soon as possible to schedule a free initial consultation with top Vista criminal attorney Peter M. Liss.
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