What is Criminal Storage of a Firearm (PC § 25100)?
Why This Article Matters: A violation of Penal Code § 21500, illegal storage of a firearm, is meant to punish those who allow children access to guns. It is a wobbler, meaning it can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the facts of the case and defendant’s criminal history.
If prosecuted as a felony, the client faces a minimum term or sixteen months in state prison, a mid-term or two years in state prison, or a maximum term of three years in state prison. If prosecuted as a felony, the client also faces a fine of up to $10,000.
If prosecuted as a misdemeanor, the client faces up to a year in county jail and a fine up to $1,000, plus penalties and assessments. Probation is possible for either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending upon the facts of the case and the client’s criminal history.
It is considered “second degree criminal storage of a firearm” if the child, upon gaining access to the firearm, commits an injury other than great bodily injury to himself or herself or takes the firearm to a public place or violates Penal Code § 417. This crime is brought as a misdemeanor, with the client facing up to a year in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000, plus penalties and assessments. Probation would be likely if this is the client’s first offense.
We have seen criminal storage of a firearm in the third degree alleged in the course of police searching a home for weapons because police discovery or are advised that our client is a registered owner of a firearm and alleged to have committed domestic violence. Police will search the home and find a firearm in an unlocked safe or even just laying under a bed or on the top shelf of a closet, for example. Criminal storage of a firearm in the third degree is a misdemeanor.
(a) The child obtains the firearm as a result of an illegal entry to any premises by any person;
(b) The firearm is kept in a locked container or in a location that a reasonable person would believe to be secure;
(c) The firearm is carried on the person or within close enough proximity thereto that the individual can readily retrieve and use the firearm as if carried on the person;
(d) The firearm is locked with a locking device, as defined in Section 16860, which has rendered the firearm inoperable;
(e) The person is a peace officer or a member of the Armed Forces or the National Guard and the child obtains the firearm during, or incidental to, the performance of the person’s duties;
(f) The child obtains, or obtains and discharges, the firearm in a lawful act of self-defense or defense of another person; or
(g) The person who keeps a loaded firearm on premises that are under the person’s custody or control has no reasonable expectation, based on objective facts and circumstances, that a child is likely to be present on the premises.