Firearm Storage and Minors

firearm storage

Firearm Storage and Minors

By Ace Luciano

It won’t happen to us!

The call shows on your phone as “Seminole County” and comes as you and your spouse are climbing into your car after dinner.  You are on the way to see a movie that you’ve been waiting to see for some time. It’s the local sheriff’s office, and you’re immediately concerned.

As the call connects, dozens of scenarios run through your brain.  What did the kids do now, you wonder? Did they play music too loud? Was there another “egg” incident with the grumpy neighbors down the street? Were the boys roughhousing and someone got hurt? Your 15-year-old is home watching his younger siblings- something that you’ve done several dozen times over the past few years.  As a matter of fact, you’re so confident in his level of responsibility that you allow him to have a friend or two over to all watch movies, eat pizza, and play some video games.  Every possibly reason for a parent to be angry at a teenager plays through your mind- except the one that you were sure could never happen to you.

There’s been a shooting.

There’s been a shooting. It’s at your home. John, your 15-year-old son is being rushed to the hospital.

Your world is immediately turned upside-down, and, as anger turns to concern and panic, the 4-mile ride home is a blur. Everyone is talking all at once. Your spouse is talking. You’re talking. The police are on the phone the whole-time asking questions and you can’t remember how you are answering them.  5 minutes later, you arrive at the hospital and the officers are waiting in the lobby. Your son, Billy, mentioned that you had gone shooting with him last weekend. Johnny asked him how many guns you had. He’s never seen a real one. Billy, knowing where one of the handguns is kept, gets it to show his friends. Johnny picks up the gun, looks down the barrel, and pulls the trigger…

The nightmare is not over yet.

Fortunately, your son was not hit in a vital area. He will live to see another day. After several days in the hospital, he is released to recover at home. You think that the nightmare is over for you, but then you get a phone call asking you to come down to the sheriff’s office, where you are informed that you are being charged under Florida statutes 784.05 (3) and 790.174. The word, “felony” is mentioned- along with “incarceration.” You are in shock and don’t know what to do. Your wife wisely calls an attorney friend immediately, who tells you to stop talking and wait there. What could have been avoided by a conversation and any one of several under $30 purchases is now a threat to your life savings and, just as important, your freedom and your ability to ever possess a firearm again.

Firearm Storage Law in Florida

A child access prevention law (often abbreviated CAP law and also sometimes called a “safe storage law”) makes it illegal for an adult to keep a gun in a place and manner so that a child can easily access and fire it. Proponents of these laws, such as the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, argue that they are effective at reducing accidental gun deaths among children, since they reduce accessibility and thereby risk. The National Rifle Association has lobbied against such laws, arguing that they are ineffective and infringe on the rights of gun owners to protect their homes.

Your problem now is that Florida is one of 27 states that have such a provision, and Florida Statute 790.174 is being used to charge you with a crime.

Florida’s firearm storage law states:

(1) A person who stores or leaves, on a premise under his or her control, a loaded firearm, as defined in s. 790.001, and who knows or reasonably should know that a minor is likely to gain access to the firearm without the lawful permission of the minor’s parent or the person having charge of the minor, or without the supervision required by law, shall keep the firearm in a securely locked box or container or in a location which a reasonable person would believe to be secure or shall secure it with a trigger lock, except when the person is carrying the firearm on his or her body or within such close proximity thereto that he or she can retrieve and use it as easily and quickly as if he or she carried it on his or her body.

(2) It is a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083, if a person violates subsection (1) by failing to store or leave a firearm in the required manner and as a result thereof a minor gains access to the firearm, without the lawful permission of the minor’s parent or the person having charge of the minor, and possesses or exhibits it, without the supervision required by law:

(a) In a public place; or

(b) In a rude, careless, angry, or threatening manner in violation of s. 790.10.

This subsection does not apply if the minor obtains the firearm as a result of an unlawful entry by any person.

1(3) As used in this act, the term “minor” means any person under the age of 16.

Other Firearm Storage laws

Although the statute is entitled Culpable negligence, Florida Statute 784.05 is in large part about firearm storage.  Florida Statute 784.05(3) provides in relevant part:

Whoever violates subsection (1) by storing or leaving a loaded firearm within the reach or easy access of a minor commits, if the minor obtains the firearm and uses it to inflict injury or death upon himself or herself or any other person, a felony of the third degree

Accidents like these can (and should) be prevented by safely storing your firearm.


Safe Firearm Storage

Here are some tips that can help you make sure your firearm is safely stored.
Buy a safe or lock box for your firearm and know your safe’s features. Some safes have a keypad, others have a keypad and a key. Additionally, some safes are electronic, while others are manual. – This is important because it will determine which features you need based on the use of the gun. Will you need quick access? One of today’s biometric lock boxes mounted in a dresser or nightstand might be a good choice. You can find some examples HERE.
If you have children in the house, make sure the safe is out of reach or inaccessible. Need a more secure storage area? There are dozens of lockable cabinets, fireproof safes and, yes, even simple trigger locks that can prevent this type of scenario from ever happening.

If you don’t need your firearm quickly, always store it locked and unloaded – especially if there are children in the house.

Most importantly, always remember that in any encounter involving firearms and law enforcement, your best first step should be to not say ANYTHING until you’ve spoken to a qualified attorney. At Katz & Phillips, P.A., “The Firearm Firm,” our attorneys specialize in protecting your rights and giving you the help, you need when you need it.

To learn more about storing your firearms if you will be having minor guests in your home click here.

Living with a felon? Want to learn what you need to do to keep a firearm in your home? Click here.

This Post Was Authored by Ace Luciano.

Who is Ace Luciano? 

That depends on whom you ask. 

Ask anyone in the outdoor or gun world, and they’ll tell you that Ace is a 2A proponent, a big game hunter, author, adventurer and super-duper friendly guy that has a great deal of sales knowledge that seems to be everywhere and knows everyone. 

Ask someone in the “corporate world” and they might tell you that Ace is the guy that smashes and sets sales records that may have stood for decades-regardless of the industry…but there is so much more. 

Hunter. Fisherman. Outdoorsman. Black Belt. “Gun Guy,” Youth Mentor. Writer. Best-selling author. Entrepreneur. Sales Executive. Marketing Expert. Seminar speaker. Fundraising Professional. These phrases and more have all been used to describe this dynamic outdoor and gun world personality and all around “good-guy.” A self-described “jack of many trades” and a Master of several, Ace is often described as “that guy…”

As in, “You know… THAT GUY….” 

Finally, as a 30 plus year student of martial arts, personal defense and firearms and firearms defensive use, Ace’s knowledge spans a broad area- including guns, self defense and the law. 

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