Improper Storage of a Firearm

Improper storage of a firearm is a Massachusetts crime aimed at preventing gun-related tragedies, including accidental discharges and suicides, by promoting responsible practices and stopping gun access by children and others who should not be handling weapons. The law is also designed to prevent loss and theft of firearms, which is a major source of black market weapons sales. Because Massachusetts takes these goals seriously, you may face an aggressive prosecution if you are charged with improper storage of a firearm. If you are facing this or any other weapons charge, it is critical to retain a criminal defense lawyer with experience in handling gun cases.

What is Improper Storage of a Firearm in Massachusetts?

Improper storage of a firearm involves three elements, which the prosecution will have to prove in order to convict you of this crime. First, the prosecution must prove that you stored or kept a firearm, shotgun, or rifle. Next, the prosecution must prove that you were not carrying the weapon or did not have the weapon under your immediate control. “Carrying” the weapon means having actual, physical possession of it. Having the weapon “under your control” means that you were sufficiently near the weapon to prevent its unauthorized use. Third, the prosecution must prove that the firearm, shotgun, or rifle was not secured either by storage in a locked container or by being equipped with a tamper-resistant mechanical lock or safety device that rendered the weapon inoperable by anyone other than the owner or other authorized user. A qualifying securely locked container is one that can only be unlocked by key, combination, or similar means. Examples include safes, lock boxes, and gun cases.

How are the Words “Firearm,” “Shotgun,” and “Rifle” Defined Under the Improper Storage of a Firearm Law?

Under the law governing improper storage of a firearm, a “firearm” must have a barrel length of less than 16 inches and be capable of discharging a bullet or shot. A “shotgun” must have a smooth bore with a barrel length of at least 18 inches with an overall length of at least 26 inches and be capable of discharging a bullet or shot for each trigger pull. A “rifle” must have a rifled bore with a barrel length of at least 16 inches and be capable of discharging a bullet or a shot for each trigger pull.

What Potential Punishments do I Face if I am Convicted of Improper Storage of a Firearm?

Improper storage of a firearm, rifle or shotgun that is not a large capacity weapon is punishable by up to 1 ½ years in prison and/or a fine of at least $1,000 and up to $7,500. Violations involving large capacity weapons, machine guns, or weapons stored or kept where children might have access carry much more serious punishments, including mandatory minimum prison sentences, and there is no District Court jurisdiction in such cases.

Massachusetts Gun Crimes Defense Attorney (617) 263-6800

If you or someone you know has been charged with improper storage of a firearm in Massachusetts, contact the Law Offices of Stephen Neyman, P.C. today. Attorney Neyman has extensive experience representing clients accused of gun crimes and all other criminal offenses in courts throughout the commonwealth. A leading defense lawyer, he has the expertise that comes from decades of practice. Utilizing his extensive skill and knowledge, Attorney Neyman consistently achieves the best possible results for his clients, even in tough cases. You can reach Attorney Neyman’s office by calling (617) 263-6800 or by completing the online contact form on this website. Initial phone consultations are free and confidential.

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