The following is a video transcript.
Doug Richards for U.S. LawShield of Colorado. I want to talk to you today about considerations for firearms that are secured or unsecured in your home when family members are visiting.
Persons Prohibited from Possessing Firearms
A family member may be prohibited by a prior felony conviction, or they may be subject to a protection order or a bond condition, or something similar. Now, you are under no duty to remove any firearms from your home just because that visiting family member is restrained, restricted, or prohibited from possessing any firearms. You can do this, obviously. You can get them out of your house, or you can lock them up in a safe, but you do not have any affirmative duty to remove the firearms. If you have somebody who is visiting your house and you’re trying to make specific accommodations for them, you would want to put that on them to make sure that they are complying with any lawful court order or prohibition to their ability to possess firearms. You could inadvertently get them in trouble by trying to make your house safe from a firearm when, in fact, perhaps the court that issued that order, or a probation officer, might not necessarily agree with what you have done.
Intoxication and Possession of a Firearm
The next situation that we want to examine is somebody who becomes intoxicated at your home and gets ahold of one of your firearms. Again, I’m assuming that this would be somebody who would be over 21, but even if it’s not, somebody becoming intoxicated and then getting your firearm is generally not something that’s foreseeable, unless it’s something that they always do. For example, you know your Uncle Buck always gets drunk and always grabs a gun and starts shooting it off in the air. In that situation, you’d be on notice that this person is going to do something or is likely to do something with your firearm and that it’s dangerous, and that could come back to you, either through some civil or criminal penalty based upon either negligence or recklessness on your part. But in general, somebody getting intoxicated and getting your firearm and doing something awful with it is not foreseeable, and you would have some very good defenses at your disposal.
History of Mental Health Issues
If you know of a person that has a history of mental health issues and those mental health issues typically yield violent reactions, I would say that you are on notice that this person could try to get ahold of a firearm at your house and perhaps do something awful. In that situation, the level of negligence or recklessness on your part would determine whether or not somebody could charge you with a crime or sue you civilly. There is not a Colorado statute on the book that necessarily makes it illegal to make a firearm illegal to somebody with a mental health illness. However, I think you could find a prosecutor or a plaintiff’s lawyer that examines our statutes and could find something that would fit if your conduct was, in fact, reckless or negligent.
If you have any questions about any of this or want to discuss your specific family member coming to visit you, give U.S. LawShield a call. That’s why you have this membership, so you can give your Independent Program Attorney a ring and we can talk about your specific situation. Thank you for watching.