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Gun Storage Laws by State

By Ceylan Pumphrey, Esq. | Last updated on

Whether it's a mass shooting or police shooting a suspect, reports of injuries or deaths because of guns seem to be in the news almost every day. Considering the damage that guns can cause, it's no surprise that there are various gun laws both on the federal and state level. 

These laws address everything from who is allowed to legally own a gun to what kind of guns are allowed to be sold in a particular state. Many states' gun control laws also address issues relating to gun storage, which promote responsible practices for gun owners. These gun storage laws are meant to encourage safe storage for guns to prevent children or people prohibited from owning guns getting their hands on guns.

Firearm Locking Devices

There are currently eleven states that have gun storage laws related to firearm locking devices.

Massachusetts is the sole state that has a general requirement to store all firearms with a lock in place. In comparison, New York, California, and Connecticut have this requirement in certain circumstances. In these states, a firearm must be locked if the gun owner lives with an individual who is not allowed by law to possess a gun, such as a convicted felon. Some states with these types of gun storage laws also set standards for the design of the locking device.

Preventing Children From Accessing Guns

Twenty-seven states also have gun storage laws that are designed to protect children from accessing guns. These types of laws can take a variety of forms depending on the state. For example, some states, including California, impose criminal liability if a minor is likely to gain access to a gun because it's stored negligently.

These types of gun storage laws vary when it comes to whether the gun must be loaded or if the child has to actually gain access to it in order to hold a person criminally liable. On the other end of the spectrum, certain states, including Colorado and Nevada, only prohibit a person from recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally providing a gun to a minor.

It's also important to note that some states that have gun storage laws addressing children's access to guns impose civil liability in addition to imposing criminal liability.

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