Penal Code 25100 PC – Criminal Storage of a Firearm

Penal Code 25100 PC is the California statute that defines the crime of criminal storage of a firearm. The law says a person cannot store a gun where a child may access it, and it is an offense if a child then gets it and injures either himself/herself or another person. A violation of the statute can result in a felony charge punishable by up to three years in state prison.

25100 PC states that “a person commits the crime of criminal storage of a firearm…if all of the following conditions are satisfied: The person keeps any firearm within any premises that are under the person's custody or control. 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. [And] the child obtains access to the firearm and thereby causes death or great bodily injury to the child or any other person.”

Examples

  • putting a gun in a hallway closet and a child finds it and shoots the gun's owner,
  • storing a rifle in a garage where a child later gets it and shoots a neighbor, and
  • keeping a handgun in a nightstand and a child discovers it and accidentally shoots himself.

Defenses

A defendant can contest a charge under this statute with a legal defense. Common defenses include:

  • the defendant kept the gun in a locked container,
  • the accused had the firearm in his/her possession, and/or
  • the defendant was arrested after an unlawful search and seizure.

Penalties

The maximum penalties for a violation of this law are:

In this article, our criminal defense attorneys will explain the following about California gun storage laws:

young girl finding gun at home as an example of a 25100 PC violation
Penal Code 25100 PC says a person cannot store a gun where a child may access it.

1. What is a crime under Penal Code 25100?

This statute says that a person can commit the crime of criminal storage of a firearm in one of three ways. These are either in the:

  • first degree,
  • second degree, or
  • third degree.

1.1. Criminal storage of a firearm in the first degree

A prosecutor must prove the following to convict a person of this crime:

  1. the accused kept a firearm in a place under his/her control,
  2. the person knew, or should have known, that a child could get to the weapon without a parent's permission, and
  3. the child accessed the firearm and thereby caused death or great bodily injury to the child or someone else.1

1.2. Criminal storage of a firearm in the second degree

A prosecutor must prove the following to convict a person of this offense:

  1. the accused kept a firearm in a place under his/her control,
  2. the person knew, or should have known, that a child could get to the weapon without a parent's permission,
  3. the child accessed the firearm and thereby caused injury, other than great bodily injury, to either himself/herself or someone else, or
  4. the child got the gun and took it to a public place or committed the crime of brandishing a weapon.2

1.3. Criminal storage of a firearm in the third degree

A prosecutor must prove the following to convict a person of this offense:

  1. the accused kept a firearm in a place under his/her control, and
  2. the person negligently stored it in a location where he/she knew that a child could get to it.3

2. Are there legal defenses?

Defense attorneys use different strategies to oppose charges under these laws. These include showing that:

  1. the defendant kept the firearm in a locked container.
  2. the accused carried the firearm on his/her person.
  3. the defendant was arrested after an unlawful search and seizure.

All of these defenses are set forth in Penal Code 25105 PC.

2.1. Locked container

A defendant is innocent under these laws if he/she kept a gun stored in either:

  • a locked container, or
  • a location that a reasonable person would believe was secure.4

2.2. Possession

An accused is not guilty under this statute if he/she carried the firearm:

  • on his/her person, or
  • within such a close enough area that he/she could quickly access it.5

2.3. Unlawful search and seizure

Authorities cannot conduct a search or take property without a valid search warrant. If no warrant, then they must have a legal excuse for not having one.

Evidence obtained via an unlawful search/seizure can get excluded from a criminal case. This includes evidence of the improper storage of a gun.

Exclusion means that any charges in the case could get reduced or even dismissed.

man being led to a jail cell
A violation of this crime can result in a fine and/or jail time

3. What are the penalties?

Criminal storage of a firearm in the first degree is a wobbler. A wobbler is an offense that the prosecutor can charge as either:

  • a misdemeanor, or
  • a felony.

A misdemeanor offense is punishable by:

  • custody in the county jail for up to one year, and/or
  • a maximum fine of $1,000.6

A felony offense is punishable by:

  • custody in state prison for up to three years, and/or
  • a maximum fine of $10,000.7

Criminal storage of a firearm in the second or third degree is charged as a misdemeanor. The offense is punishable by:

  • custody in the county jail for up to one year, and/or
  • a maximum fine of $1,000.8

4. Are there immigration consequences?

A conviction under these laws may have negative immigration consequences.

California law says that aggravated felonies can result in a non-citizen defendant being:

The facts of a case determine whether or not a felony is “aggravated,” with severe facts causing aggravation.

This means a violation of these laws will have negative immigration results in cases with grave facts.

5. Can a person get a conviction expunged?

A person can get a conviction expunged if:

  1. the conviction was for a misdemeanor offense, and
  2. the defendant successfully completed either a jail term or probation.

A person, though, cannot get a felony conviction expunged. Expungements are not allowed for crimes that lead to prison terms.

6. Does a conviction affect gun rights?

A misdemeanor conviction will not affect a person's gun rights.

Felony convictions, though, will cause a defendant to lose his/her rights to:

  • buy a gun,
  • own a gun, and
  • possess a gun.

California law says that convicted felons must give up their gun rights.

7. Are there related offenses?

There are three crimes related to criminal storage of a firearm. These are:

  1. child endangerment – PC 273a
  2. carrying a loaded firearm – PC 25850, and
  3. carrying a concealed weapon – PC 25400

7.1. Child endangerment – PC 273a

California law defines child endangerment as willfully exposing a child under 18 to:

  • pain,
  • suffering, or
  • danger.

A person can be charged for this crime even if a particular risk never came to fruition.

7.2. Carrying a loaded firearm – PC 25850

Penal Code 25850 PC is the California statute that makes it a crime for a person to:

  • carry a loaded firearm in public, or
  • carry a loaded firearm in his/her vehicle.

A “public place” is any place which is:

  1. open to general use, and
  2. readily accessible by anyone wishing to go there.

7.3. Carrying a concealed weapon – PC 25400

Penal Code 25400 PC makes it a crime for a person to carry a concealed firearm either:

  • on his/her person, or
  • in his/her vehicle.

This law applies to any

  • pistol,
  • revolver, or
  • other firearm capable of being concealed upon one's person.

For additional help...

criminal defense law firm
Call us for help at (855) LAW-FIRM

For additional guidance or to discuss your case with a criminal defense attorney, we invite you to contact us at Shouse Law Group.

Legal References:

  1. California Penal Code 25100a PC.

  2. California Penal Code 25100b PC.

  3. California Penal Code 25100c PC.

  4. California Penal Code 25105b PC.

  5. California Penal Code 25105c PC.

  6. California Penal Code 19 PC.

  7. California Penal Code 1170h PC.

  8. California Penal Code 25100 PC. See also California Penal Code 19 PC.

Free attorney consultations...

The attorneys at Shouse Law Group bring more than 100 years collective experience fighting for individuals. We're ready to fight for you. Call us 24 hours a day, 365 days a year at 855-LAW-FIRM for a free case evaluation.

Regain peace of mind...

Shouse Law Defense Group has multiple locations throughout California. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

Office Locations

Shouse Law Group has multiple locations all across California, Nevada, and Colorado. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

Call us 24/7 (855) 396-0370