LOS ANGELES — One of two San Fernando Valley fathers accused of failing to properly store firearms — discovered following alleged school threats by their sons — has pleaded not guilty.
Dazo Esguerra, 49, pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor counts of criminal storage of a firearm and unlawful storage of a firearm. He was ordered to return to court May 2 for a pretrial hearing.
Esguerra faces up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine for each charge.
According to the City Attorney Mike Feuer’s office, in February, Los Angeles School Police visited Esguerra’s home after his 17-year-old son allegedly made threats involving a gun to another student at Granada Hills Charter High School. His son also allegedly posted images of the firearm on social media sites.
Officers found a loaded semi-automatic handgun unsecured in a bag located in Esguerra’s closet, along with a magazine with seven rounds of ammunition, according to Feuer’s office.
“It’s imperative that adults lock up their guns. For goodness’ sake, lock up your guns,” Feuer said at a news conference announcing the charges.
“It’s the law. There’s no excuse not to and it could make the difference between life and death in the community in which you live. Store your guns safely.”
Another father, Robert Christy, 59, who was charged with three misdemeanor counts of unlawful storage of a firearm, was also set to be arraigned Monday, but the hearing was delayed until April 13. Christy also faces up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine for each charge.
According to Feuer’s office, Christy’s 16-year-old son made threats around Feb. 5 to other students at Chatsworth Charter High School indicating he was going to carry out a shooting, and he made numerous references to his parents’ guns on previous occasions.
Los Angeles School Police went to Christy’s home Feb. 17, after another parent reported the alleged threats. Police recovered an unsecured rifle in the closet, two revolvers and one semi-automatic handgun unsecured in a bag behind a dresser and about 90 rounds of ammunition also in the bag, according to the City Attorney’s Office.
In response to the Feb. 14 shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead and subsequent calls around the nation for better school security, Feuer formed the Los Angeles School Safety Blue Ribbon Panel.
That 19-member panel of leaders and experts — including Los Angeles School Police Chief Steven Zipperman, Los Angeles Unified School District Board student member Ben Holtzman, former state inspector general Laura Chick and USC Vice President of Civic Engagement Earl Paysinger — will hold one of a series of public hearings at Hollywood High School next Sunday afternoon. A report is expected this summer.