Gun Safety Information
The purpose of this memorandum is to inform and to remind parents and legal guardians of all students in the Oxnard Union High School District of their responsibilities for keeping firearms out of the hands of children as required by California law. There have been many news reports of children bringing firearms to school. In many instances, the child obtained the firearm(s) from his or her home. These incidents can be easily prevented by storing firearms in a safe and secure manner, including keeping them locked up when not in use and storing them separately from ammunition.
To help everyone understand their legal responsibilities, this memorandum spells out California law regarding the storage of firearms. Please take some time to review this memorandum and evaluate your own personal practices to assure that you and your family are in compliance with California law.
• California makes a person criminally liable for keeping a loaded firearm, under their custody and control, where that person knows or reasonably should know that a child is likely to gain access to the firearm without the permission of the child's parent or legal guardian and the child obtains access to the firearm and thereby: (1) causes death or great bodily injury to the child or any other person; (2) carries the firearm to a public place, including to any preschool or school grades kindergarten through twelfth grade, including to any school-sponsored event, activity, or performance; or (3) brandishes a firearm to others. The criminal penalty may be greater if someone dies or suffers great bodily injury as a result of the child gaining access to the firearm. 1
• As of 2014, California makes a person criminally liable if they negligently store or leave any loaded firearm on their premises where a child is likely to gain access to it-regardless of whether or not the child brings the gun to a public place. 1
• A parent or guardian may also be civilly liable for damages resulting from the discharge of a firearm by that person's child or ward. These damages may be up to $30,000 per victim.2
Note: Gun owners may avoid criminal liability under California Penal Code Section 25100 by keeping their firearm in a locked container or secured with a locking device that renders the firearm inoperable.3 In addition to potential fines and terms of imprisonment, as of January 1, 2020, a gun owner found criminally liable under California laws faces prohibitions from possessing, controlling, owning, receiving, or purchasing a firearm for 10 years
Thank you for helping to keep our students and schools safe. Remember that the easiest and safest way to comply with the law is to keep firearms in a locked container or secured with a locking device that renders the firearm inoperable.
Dr. Tom McCoy
1 See California Penal Code sections 25100 through 25125; 25200 through25220.
2 See California Civil Code Sections 29805; 1714.3.
3 See California Penal Code sections 25105; 25205.
GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION
WHEREAS, guns are now the leading cause of death for children in America. Every day, eight children and teens are shot in instances of family tire - a firearm discharge involving an improperly stored or misused gun found in the home resulting in injury or death; and
WHEREAS, having a firearm in the home that is not safely locked or securely disabled increases firearm-related injuries, deaths, and crimes, including teen suicide, creating significant local and national public health impacts; and
WHEREAS, safely locking up or disabling firearms when they are not in the owner's immediate control is highly effective in reducing gun violence and has been found to be the single most effective gun safety measure enacted by states and municipalities; and
WHEREAS, suicide attempts often are impulsive acts, frequently occurring within five minutes of their decision to attempt suicide, and secured firearms impede the opportunity for impulsive suicide attempts, giving suicidal individuals time to contact family, friends, and health-care professionals, and giving others time to react; and
WHEREAS, two young people (ages 5-18) either die or survive a suicide attempt each day in our country. Over 80 percent of teens who commit suicide with a gun used one that belonged to someone in their home; and
WHEREAS, educating gun owners is a critical component of gun safety, in that an estimated 5 million children in the United States live in a home with unsecured firearms, 87 percent of kids know where their parents' guns are kept, and 60 percent report that they have handled guns; and
WHEREAS, 75 percent of school shootings are facilitated by kids having access to unsecured or unsupervised guns at home; and
WHEREAS, the law requires all firearms inside a residence to be safely locked or stored, unless the weapon is being carried on the body or in the immediate control of its owner or other authorized user; and
WHEREAS, students, parents, and educators recognized the importance of practicing responsible gun ownership and safety, beginning by keeping all guns and ammunition secured where children cannot access them; and
WHEREAS, Gun violence restraining orders (GVROs) allow guns to be removed from the home temporarily and prevent further purchases when someone is at risk of harming themselves or others. Families or teachers can apply to a court for a GVRO directly, and anyone can ask law enforcement for a GVRO to remove firearms from individuals who may be violent or in crisis; and
WHEREAS, the Oxnard Union High School District Board of Trustees now seeks to inform parents and guardians of the importance of safe storage in reducing accidental shootings of children and other firearm-related injuries and deaths; and
WHEREAS, the Oxnard Union High School District Board of Trustees continues to urge all parents to ask about the presence of unsecured firearms in any home before allowing their children to enter; and
WHEREAS, the rising threat of gun violence has struck at the heart of the shared ideal of providing a future for our youth through education, stretching from tragic attacks on schools, including school shootings at Columbine High School in 1999, the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre in 2012, and the Parkland, Florida, mass shooting in February 2018.
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Board directs the Superintendent and staff to update the OUHSD website to include information about parents' and guardians' legal duties to safely store or disable firearms, and that this information should include assistance with obtaining a gun violence restraining or a domestic violence restraining order so families may better protect themselves.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Board and the Superintendent will continue to work with local law enforcement agencies, health agencies, businesses, firearms owners, and non-profit and advocacy organizations to increase efforts to inform parents and guardians of their duty to safely lock or securely disable their firearms, as well as informing families of their right to obtain a gun violence restraining order and domestic violence restraining orders to safeguard their loved ones.