Penalties For Leaving A Firearm Accessible To A Child In Arizona

Some people feel more comfortable and secure knowing they have a firearm if ever necessary for self-defense purposes. Some also have them for hunting purposes, and may even use meat obtained from hunting to feed their families. But while firearms can be useful in certain situations, in others, they can be incredibly dangerous. An example of this is when a firearm is left unattended and eventually results in accidental discharge and serious bodily injury or even death. Gun storage is a crucial component of firearm safety, as it can prevent accidents like these. Not everyone keeps their gun in a safe, unloaded, and with the safety mechanism on. What happens when a firearm is left unattended, especially if it results in injury or death? Can it play a role in legal matters besides criminal cases? Read on to learn more about what happens to someone who negligently leaves a firearm accessible to others in the state of Arizona. If you have additional questions or are seeking legal representation in the Mesa and Tempe area, call 480-470-1504 to schedule your free consultation with an experienced member of the criminal defense team at My AZ Lawyers. 

A lawyer from My AZ Lawyers prepares to address legal issues related to leaving a firearm accessible to a child, depicted by a close-up of a hand signing documents with a gavel in the background. Gun Storage Laws

To prevent accidental firearm discharge injuries and deaths as described above, many states have gun storage laws in place. They penalize negligent firearm owners who don’t follow certain safety precautions, which can vary by state. Arizona does not have laws requiring firearm owners to keep their guns in safes or other secure devices. However, there are laws in Arizona that impose penalties on adults who leave their firearms around unsupervised minors. These offenses can be charged at the misdemeanor or felony level. 

Arizona Revised Statute Section 13-3109

A.R.S. § 13-3109 is Arizona’s law regarding unlawful sale or transfer of a firearm to a minor. Selling or giving a minor a firearm, ammunition, or a functioning toy pistol without written consent from the minor’s parent or guardian is a class 6 felony. The statute specifies that this law doesn’t mandate firearm sales reporting or firearm registration. There is also an exception for instructors teaching a minor firearm safety, hunting safety, or competition coaching if the parent or guardian has given consent for the minor to participate in these activities. 

Class 6 Felony Penalties

Unlawful sale or transfer of a firearm to a minor is a class 6 felony in Arizona. A felony is considered a more serious offense than a misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of 6 months in jail in Arizona. A felony typically has a longer term of incarceration, higher fines, and more stigma surrounding conviction. For example, a convicted felony may have difficulties and setbacks while trying to find a job and rent an apartment after being released from prison. Felons will also need to complete probation after their release. The rules and requirements set forth for felons released from prison can often feel so restrictive that it’s like being back behind bars. 

Arizona law provides that a defendant charged with a non-dangerous class 6 felony can have their charges reduced to a class 1 misdemeanor if the class 6 felony sentence would be unduly harsh. This is unlikely to apply in a negligent firearm storage case as providing a child with a firearm is an inherently dangerous offense. Additionally, this provision does not apply if the defendant has previously been convicted of 2 or more felonies. The minimum prison sentence for a first-time offense class 6 felony is 6 months, and the maximum sentence is 1.5 years. A class 6 felony has a presumed prison sentence of 1 year. If the defendant has a previous felony conviction, the minimum sentence will 1 year and the maximum sentence is 2.75 years, with a presumptive sentence of 1.75 years. For a defendant with 2 or more previous felonies on their record, the minimum sentence for a class 6 felony is 3 years, with a maximum sentence of 4.5 years and a presumptive sentence of 3.75 years. All of these sentencing guidelines can be increased by aggravating factors and decreased by mitigating factors. 

Child Endangerment 

Child endangerment is treated as child abuse under Arizona law and is defined by A.R.S. § 13-3623. It occurs when an adult- not necessarily the child’s parent or legal guardian- causes a child physical injury or places them in a situation where physical injury is likely to occur. Leaving a firearm unattended, especially around young children, can be considered a situation in which physical injury is likely to occur. This offense can be charged at a wide range of levels. If the defendant acted intentionally or knowingly, it is considered a class 2 felony in Arizona. Additionally, if the victim was under 15 years old, it can be penalized using A.R.S. § 13-705, Arizona’s law for dangerous crimes against children. If the defendant acted recklessly, it is considered a class 3 felony. If done with criminal negligence, it is considered a class 4 felony. The lower the number for the class of felony, the more serious the charge in Arizona. A defendant charged with any level felony can expect a significant amount of time in prison and on probation, as well as the loss of some civil rights and rejection and difficulties due to having a felony conviction on their record. 

Civil Claims for Negligent Firearm Storage

Just because failure to properly store a firearm isn’t a crime in Arizona doesn’t mean that a gun owner can’t be held civilly liable for damages incurred due to negligent firearm storage. If someone is injured or killed due to a firearm owner’s negligent firearm storage, it could result in significant damages like medical bills, future medical expenses, lost wages, lost earning potential, wrongful death, infliction of emotional distress, pain and suffering, and more. Additionally, negligent firearm storage could become an issue if the firearm owner is a parent in the midst of a custody dispute. While civil and family lawsuits don’t result in jail time, they can come with significant debts if a judgment is issued in the plaintiff’s favor. A defendant is not entitled to a court-appointed attorney unless jail time is on the line. 

Arizona Defense Attorneys for Criminal Negligence & More

Arizona’s lack of gun storage laws doesn’t guarantee a lack of consequences for gun owners who don’t securely store their weapons. If you’re facing criminal charges for events that occurred with your firearm, you need an effective legal strategy as quickly as possible. A skilled defense attorney can help protect your liberty, reputation, and status in your community when you have been accused of a crime. Our Mesa and Tempe criminal defense team is staffed by experienced negotiators with the skillset to bring your case to trial, if necessary. Don’t wait if you have a hearing set on a criminal matter in the state of Arizona- begin the process of hiring a seasoned private defender from home and free of charge. Our lawyers offer free initial consultations by phone, which is when you will be provided with a quote for our unparalleled legal services. To schedule your free consultation contact us at My AZ Lawyers today or call 480-470-1504

Contact Professional Family Attorneys In Arizona


Mesa Location
1731 West Baseline Rd., Suite #100
Mesa, AZ 85202

Office: 480-448-9800

Phoenix Location
343 West Roosevelt, Suite #100
Phoenix, AZ 85003

Office: 602-609-7000

Glendale Location
20325 N 51st Avenue Suite #134, Building 5
Glendale, AZ 85308

Office: 602-509-0955

Tucson Location
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Tucson, AZ 85701

Office: 520-441-1450

Avondale Location
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Avondale, AZ 85392

Office: 623-469-6603

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