State Child Access Prevention to Guns

Child Access Prevention in South Dakota

Posted on Sunday, January 1st, 2012

South Dakota prohibits any person from selling, transferring, giving, loaning, furnishing, or delivering a firearm or firearm ammunition to any person under age 18 if that person knows or reasonably believes the minor intended, at the time of transfer, to use the firearm or ammunition in a crime of violence.1 South Dakota has no other law penalizing those who provide children access to firearms.

See our Child Access Prevention policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. S.D. Codified Laws § 23-7-46. The person transferring the firearm is criminally liable for a felony. Id. []

Child Access Prevention in Tennessee

Posted on Sunday, January 1st, 2012

Tennessee prohibits a parent or guardian from intentionally, knowingly or recklessly providing a handgun to a juvenile1 or permitting a juvenile to possess a handgun, if such parent or guardian knows of a substantial risk that such juvenile will use the handgun to commit a felony.2

Tennessee also prohibits any person age 18 or older, including a parent or legal guardian, who knows that a minor or student is in illegal possession of a firearm in or upon the premises of a public or private school, in or on such school’s athletic stadium or other facility or building where school sponsored athletic events are conducted, or a public park, playground or civic center, from failing to prevent the possession or failing to report the possession to the appropriate school or law enforcement officials.3

Tennessee does not otherwise impose criminal liability on adults who allow children access to firearms.

See our Child Access Prevention policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. “Juvenile” is defined as any person under age 18. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1319(a)(2). []
  2. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1320(b). []
  3. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1312(a). []

Child Access Prevention in Texas

Posted on Sunday, January 1st, 2012

See our Child Access Prevention policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Under Texas law, if a child under 17 years of age gains access to a readily dischargeable firearm (i.e., loaded with ammunition, whether or not a round is in the chamber), a person is criminally liable if he or she, “with criminal negligence:”

  • Failed to secure the firearm (i.e., to take steps a reasonable person would take to prevent the access to a readily dischargeable firearm by a child, including but not limited to placing a firearm in a locked container or temporarily rendering the firearm inoperable by a trigger lock or other means); or
  • Left the firearm in a place to which the person knew or should have known the child would gain access.1

However, a person is not guilty under this law if the child’s access to the firearm:

  • Was supervised by a person older than age 18 and was for hunting, sporting, or other lawful purposes;
  • Consisted of lawful defense by the child of people or property;
  • Was gained by entering property in violation of this code; or
  • Occurred during a time when the actor was engaged in an agricultural enterprise.2)

The penalty for a violation is significantly harsher if the child discharges the firearm and causes death or serious bodily injury to himself, herself or another person.3

If the negligent person is a member of the family of the child who discharged the firearm, and the child was killed or seriously injured, an arrest cannot be made until seven days after the offense was committed.4

Finally, a firearms dealer must post in a “conspicuous position” on the premises where he or she conducts business a sign that contains the following warning in block letters not less than one inch in height:

IT IS UNLAWFUL TO STORE, TRANSPORT, OR ABANDON AN UNSECURED FIREARM IN A PLACE WHERE CHILDREN ARE LIKELY TO BE AND CAN OBTAIN ACCESS TO THE FIREARM.5

Please note that state administrative regulations govern the storage of firearms in certain locations.

  1. Tex. Penal Code § 46.13. []
  2. Tex. Penal Code § 46.13(c []
  3. Tex. Penal Code § 46.13(d), (e). []
  4. Tex. Penal Code § 46.13(f). []
  5. Tex. Penal Code § 46.13(g). []

Child Access Prevention in the District of Columbia

Posted on Monday, January 2nd, 2012

The District of Columbia requires that no person store or keep a firearm on any premises under his or her control if he or she knows or reasonably should know that a minor (person under age 18)1 is likely to gain access to the firearm without the permission of the parent or guardian of the minor, unless such person: 1) keeps the firearm in a securely locked box, secured container, or in a location which a reasonable person would believe to be secure; or 2) carries the firearm on the person or within such close proximity that he or she can readily retrieve and use it as if he or she carried it on the person.2 A person who violates this requirement is liable for criminally negligent storage of a firearm and subject to a fine of up to $1,000, imprisonment for up to 180 days, or both punishments.3 If a person violates this requirement and the minor causes injury or death to himself, herself or another person, the criminally negligent registrant shall be subject to a fine of up to $5,000, imprisonment for up to five years, or both punishments.4

These prohibitions will not apply if the minor obtains the firearm as a result of an unlawful entry or burglary to any premises by any person.5

See our Child Access Prevention policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2507.02(d). []
  2. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2507.02(b). []
  3. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2507.02(c)(1). []
  4. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2507.02(c)(2). []
  5. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2507.02(c)(3). []

Child Access Prevention in Utah

Posted on Sunday, January 1st, 2012

Utah does not penalize an adult who recklessly or negligently allows a minor access to a firearm.

In Utah, a parent or guardian may not intentionally or knowingly provide a firearm to, or permit the possession of a firearm by, any minor, defined as under age 18, who has been convicted of a violent felony or adjudicated in juvenile court for an offense which would constitute a violent felony if the minor were an adult.1

The state also prohibits any parent or guardian of a minor, where the parent or guardian knows that the minor is in possession of a firearm, from failing to make reasonable efforts to remove the firearm from the minor’s possession.2

For age requirements for the purchase or possession of firearms in Utah, see the Utah Minimum Age to Purchase / Possess section

See our Child Access Prevention policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-509.6(1). []
  2. Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-509.7. []

Child Access Prevention in Vermont

Posted on Sunday, January 1st, 2012

Vermont has no law specifically penalizing allowing children access to firearms.

See our Child Access Prevention policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Child Access Prevention in Virginia

Posted on Sunday, January 1st, 2012

Virginia law prohibits anyone from recklessly leaving a loaded, unsecured firearm in such a manner as to endanger the life or limb of any child under the age of 14.1 It is also unlawful for any person knowingly to authorize a child under the age of 12 to use a firearm except when the child is under the supervision of an adult.2 For purposes of this rule, “adult” means a parent, guardian, or similar person or a person 21 years or over who has the permission of the parent, guardian, or similar person to supervise the child in the use of a firearm.3

State administrative regulations govern storage of firearms in certain locations.

See our Child Access Prevention policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-56.2. []
  2. Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-56.2(B). []
  3. Id. []

Child Access Prevention in Washington

Posted on Sunday, January 1st, 2012

Washington has no laws regulating child access prevention.

See our Child Access Prevention policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Child Access Prevention in West Virginia

Posted on Sunday, January 1st, 2012

West Virginia has no statute that directly penalizes someone for allowing a child to access a firearm. However, West Virginia obligates any parent, guardian or custodian of a child less than 18 years of age, who knows that the child is in possession of a firearm or any other deadly weapon in or on any property of a public or private primary or secondary education institution in violation of state law, or who has reasonable cause to believe that such a violation is imminent, to immediately report knowledge or belief of the possession violation to the appropriate school or law-enforcement officials.1

For age requirements for the purchase or possession of firearms in West Virginia, see the West Virginia Minimum Age to Purchase / Possess section.

See our Child Access Prevention policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. W. Va. Code § 61-7-11a(f)(1); see also W. Va. Code § 61-7-11a(b)(1). []

Child Access Prevention in Wisconsin

Posted on Sunday, January 1st, 2012

Wisconsin provides that anyone who recklessly stores or leaves a loaded firearm within the reach or easy access of a child under age 14 is criminally liable for a misdemeanor if:

  • The child obtains the firearm without the lawful permission of his or her parent or guardian or the person having charge of the child; and
  • The child either discharges the firearm causing bodily harm to anyone, or possesses the firearm in a public place or in violation of Wisconsin Statutes § 941.20 (regarding the illegal use and discharge of firearms).1

These criminal penalties do not apply when:

  • The firearm is stored or left in a securely locked box or container or in a location that a reasonable person would believe to be secure;
  • The firearm is securely locked with a trigger lock;
  • The firearm is left on the person’s body or in such proximity to the person’s body that he or she could retrieve it as easily and quickly as if carried on his or her body;
  • The child obtains the firearm as a result of an illegal entry by any person;
  • The child gains access to a loaded firearm and uses it in the lawful exercise of a privilege under section 939.48 (regarding self-defense and defense of others);
  • The person who stores or leaves the loaded firearm reasonably believes that a child is not likely to be present where the firearm is stored or left; or
  • The firearm is rendered inoperable by the removal of an essential component of the firing mechanism such as the bolt in a breech-loading firearm.2

One additional exception to the child access prevention penalties is available where the bodily harm or death results from an accident that occurs while the child is using the firearm for hunting, target practice, or other lawful purposes.3

Wisconsin also provides that no parent or guardian of a child under age 16 may authorize or knowingly permit the child to violate any of the statutory restrictions on hunting and the use of firearms by persons under age 16.4

Wisconsin requires retail firearms dealers to provide all gun purchasers a written warning in block letters not less than one-fourth inch in height, stating: “IF YOU LEAVE A LOADED FIREARM WITHIN THE REACH OR EASY ACCESS OF A CHILD YOU MAY BE FINED OR IMPRISONED OR BOTH IF THE CHILD IMPROPERLY DISCHARGES, POSSESSES OR EXHIBITS THE FIREARM.”5

See our Child Access Prevention policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Wis. Stat. § 948.55(1), (2), (3). []
  2. Wis. Stat. § 948.55(4). []
  3. Wis. Stat. § 948.55(5). []
  4. Wis. Stat. § 29.304(4). []
  5. Wis. Stat. § 175.37(1). []