Image by wirestock on Freepik
Washington law makes it a crime in some situations if you improperly store a firearm, and as a result, a minor or convicted felon gains access to it. Depending on the facts of your case, the unsafe storage of a firearm can lead to felony charges punishable by a state prison term of up to five years. Please contact a skilled criminal defense attorney now if you or a loved one is facing any criminal charge involving a gun or weapon.
What is Washington’s Law on the Unasafe Storage of a Firearm?
RCW 9.41.360 is the Washington statute that addresses the unsafe storage of a firearm. According to this law, you commit the crime of community endangerment due to the unsafe storage of a firearm in the first-degree if:
- You store or leave a firearm in a location where you know, or reasonably should know, that a minor or convicted felon main gain access to it, and
- The minor or felon causes personal injury or death with the firearm.
Also according to this law, you commit the crime of community endangerment due to the unsafe storage of a firearm in the second degree you store or leave a firearm in a location where you know, or reasonably should know, that a minor or convicted felon main gain access to it and any of the following takes place:
- The minor or felony discharges the firearm,
- The minor or felon carries or displays the firearm in a public place, or
- The minor or felon uses the firearm in the commission of a crime.
What are the Penalties?
Community endangerment due to the unsafe storage of a firearm in the first-degree is a Class C felony. A Class C felony is punishable by:
- Custody in state prison for up to five years, and/or
- A maximum fine of $10,000.
Community endangerment due to the unsafe storage of a firearm in the second degree is a gross misdemeanor. A gross misdemeanor is punishable by:
- Custody in county jail for up to one year, and/or
- A maximum fine of $5,000.
Can a Defendant Raise a Legal Defense?
Yes. You have the right to challenge an unsafe storage charge with a legal defense. A common defense under RCW 9.41.360 is to show that you stored your firearm in a secure location or secured your firearm with a trigger lock or similar device that is designed to prevent the unauthorized use or discharge of the firearm.
Another common defense is for your criminal defense attorney to prove that while a minor or felon accessed your firearm, the person only did so by means of some unlawful entry.
Contact Black & Askerov for Help
While a defendant can raise a legal defense to challenge an unsafe storage charge, it will take a skilled criminal defense attorney to raise the best defense. The experienced criminal defense attorneys at Black & Askerov have over 30 years of combined experience defending clients on various misdemeanor and felony charges. Our Seattle criminal defense lawyers also have the skill and commitment that makes all the difference in these cases. Contact us now to get the legal help you deserve!