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Improper Storage of a Firearm (140/131L)

Please see: An Overview of Firearm Charge Defenses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

The Charge of Improper Storage

Massachusetts general laws require that any gun be stored secured in a locked container or equipped with a tamper-resistant mechanical lock or other safety device, properly engaged so as to render such weapon inoperable by any person other than the owner.

The charge of improper storage is routinely prosecuted in the wake of an accident or theft of the firearm involved. 

Constitutional Challenge

In addition to the approaches described in "An Overview of Firearm Charge Defenses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts," there is a further constitutional dimension to the charge of improper storage of a firearm.  Improper storage is often prosecuted for a violation which occurs in the home.  Gun advocates' first response is often to point out that rendering a firearm inoperable defeats the purpose of having a firearm inside the home for purposes of self defense.  This is precisely the argument which was successfully pursued in the Supreme Court.

Penalties

In addition to the possibility of jail time, a conviction on the charge of improper storage of a firearm can result in a substantial fine, ineligibility to obtain a firearm license, forfeitureof any guns in the defendant's possession, and the statute defining the offense of improper storage of a firearm specifically provides that, in some circumstances, a violation of the statute "shall be evidence of wanton or reckless conduct in any criminal or civil proceeding."

If you or someone you know has been charged with a firearm offense, contact me to set up a free and confidential consultation.

 

See: GL c. 140 s. 131L; An Overview of Firearm Charge Defenses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.