The Worms that Walk
Negligent Discharge of a Firearm
Penal Code 246.3 PC is considered a “lesser” offense to Penal Code 246 PC California’s “shooting at an inhabited dwelling or occupied car” law. The difference between the two is that Penal Code 246 involves an actual target…Penal Code 246.3 PC does not.
In order to convict you of negligently discharging a firearm or BB device, the prosecutor must prove the following three facts (otherwise known as “elements” of the crime):
- that you willfully fired a gun or BB device,
- that you did so in a grossly negligent manner, and
- that the discharge of the gun could have resulted in a person’s death or injury.
Penal Code 246.3 PC is what’s known as a wobbler. A “wobbler” is an offense that prosecutors may elect to file as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on
- the circumstances of the offense, and
- your criminal history.
If convicted of negligently discharging a firearm as a misdemeanor, you face up to one year in a county jail and a maximum $1,000 fine. If convicted of this offense as a felony, you face 16 months, or two or three years in the California State Prison and a maximum $10,000 fine.
In addition to the above penalties, a conviction under Penal Code 246.3 will result in the loss of your Second Amendment right to bear arms.
If convicted of negligently discharging a firearm as a felony, Penal Code 12021 PC California’s “felon with a firearm” law prohibits you from owning or acquiring firearms for life. If convicted of PC 246.3 as a misdemeanor, your firearms ban will be lifted after ten years.