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Criminal Storage of Firearms Laws (PC 25100-PC 25300) in California- IE-Criminal Defense

I. California Penal Code 25100(a): Criminal Storage of a Firearm


Legal Definition: (a) Except as provided in Section 25105, a person commits the crime of “criminal storage of a firearm in the first degree” if all of the following conditions are satisfied:

(1) The person keeps any loaded firearm within any premises that are under the person’s custody or control.

(2) The person knows or reasonably should know that a child is likely to gain access to the firearm without the permission of the child’s parent or legal guardian, or that a person is prohibited from possessing a firearm or deadly weapon pursuant to state or federal law is likely to gain access to the firearm.

(3) The child obtains access to the firearm and thereby causes death or great bodily injury to the child or any other person, or the person prohibited from possessing a firearm or deadly weapon pursuant to state or federal law obtains access to the firearm and thereby causes death or great bodily injury to himself or herself or any other person.

(b) Except as provided in Section 25105, a person commits the crime of “criminal storage of a firearm in the second degree” if all of the following conditions are satisfied:

(1) The person keeps any loaded firearm within any premises that are under the person’s custody or control.

(2) The person knows or reasonably should know that a child is likely to gain access to the firearm without the permission of the child’s parent or legal guardian, or that a person is prohibited from possessing a firearm or deadly weapon pursuant to state or federal law is likely to gain access to the firearm.

(3) The child obtains access to the firearm and thereby causes injury, other than great bodily injury, to the child or any other person, or carries the firearm either to a public place or in violation of Section 417, or the person prohibited from possessing a firearm or deadly weapon pursuant to state or federal law obtains access to the firearm and thereby causes injury, other than great bodily injury, to himself or herself or any other person, or carries the firearm either to a public place or in violation of Section 417.

II. What does this mean?


Simply because you have a right to possess a firearm, does not mean you have the right to keep your firearm wherever you want in your home. The basic premise of this charge, is to protect families, most notably kids, from finding a firearm in a home, and accidentally hurting or even killing themselves, or someone else.

If you leave a loaded firearm sitting on the counter, in a home where children reside, then it is extremely likely that you should have reasonably known or should have known a child could gain access to that gun and caused any harm. The amount of injury caused by the child having access to the firearm reflects whether this is charged as a first, or second degree.

III. Penalties


Depending on the facts of your specific case, will help determine whether you are charged with this violation as a misdemeanor or as a felony. Under PC 25100(a) or PC 25110(a), the charge is a felony, where you could be sentenced to upwards of 16 months, two or three years. If you are convicted of PC 25100(b) or PC 25110(b) as a misdemeanor, you could be sentenced to up to one year in County Jail. If you are convicted of a Third Degree violation under PC 25100(c) or PC 25110(c), you could be sentenced to 180 days in County Jail. You would be required to serve 50% of that time.

It is also very possible to see willful child endangerment criminal charges filed along with criminal storage of a firearm because the facts of a typical PC 25100 or 25110 case tend to implicate some fact that would put your child in danger, based on your actions or negligence.

This charge is not considered a strike offense under California’s Three Strikes Sentencing Law. You would also be required to pay fines and fees, and could potentially lose your right to own or possess a firearm in the future, given that the charge implicates that you failed to properly store your firearm.

IV. Common Defenses


  1. Statute of Limitations
  2. Insufficient Evidence
  3. Violation of your Rights
  4. Mistake of Fact

The injury is important in relation to first and second degrees, because if the child’s injury is relatively minor, then you would likely not be dealing with a felony violation under this section. However, a major defense is whether or not your storage was in fact reasonable. Sometimes, your firearm is properly stored, but another person, not you, took the firearm out. In that circumstance, it would actually be the other party – not you, that left the firearm out in violation of this section.

Another issue is you putting your firearm away in a locked box in your closet, and let’s say, at some point, the box falls over, the box was not locked as you believed, and the firearm falls to the floor of your closet. In that circumstance, you had a reasonable belief that your gun was locked away so that even if it were to fall (as we are prone to earthquakes in California), the firearm would have stayed locked away. This would be a defense because generally, it would be believed that a gun in a lockbox would be safe, but you mistakenly thought you locked the box, and did not.

V. Call Today


A criminal conviction can be devastating to your life and your future. In addition, the fines and fees associated with a conviction can cripple you. In addition, you will have limitations on your ability to own a gun in the future. Plus, you face the strong likelihood of losing your gun privileges altogether. But not all hope is lost, many times these charges can be reduced or dismissed, even through Differed Entry of Judgment, depending on your case, and what attorney you choose to represent you. Our PC 25100 Ontario criminal defense attorney has successfully defended numerous cases involving PC 25100 and other firearm offenses. The initial consultation is free and we are available to answer your questions 24/7. Call the Inland Empire Criminal Defense today at 909-939-7126! Located in Ontario, CA.

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