Under California law, it is illegal to shoot a firearm in a grossly negligent
manner. A person who does so commits a
Definition of the Offense
Penal Code Section 246.3 defines negligent discharge of a firearm as the
willful firing of a gun in a reckless manner that puts others at risk
of serious injury or death.
For example, say Sally was at a party where Jim brought a gun that he said
required a lot of pressure to pull the trigger. Sally wanted to see if
she could shoot the weapon, so she pointed it in the backyard and fired.
Her willful intent to discharge the weapon into an area with other people
present is a direct violation of the law. If she picked up the gun, not
realizing it was loaded, and it accidentally went off, she may not face
charges. She also might not face charges if she was alone and no one was
in the area where she fired the gun.
The law applies not only to handguns but also to BB guns and pellet guns
– those that use air pressure, gas pressure, or a spring load to
fire a projectile.
Charges and Potential Penalties
After the prosecutor examines the facts of the case, they will determine
whether a violation should be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. If the
weapon that was fired was a BB gun or pellet gun, the violator could be
charged with only a misdemeanor.
If convicted of a misdemeanor, the individual faces up to 1 year in jail
and/or a fine of up to $1,000. The penalties for a felony conviction include
a jail sentence of 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years, and/or a fine of up
Speak with Appel & Morse for Experienced Legal Defense – Your
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