For release on October 9, 2013
ALDON SMITH CHARGED WITH FELONY POSSESSION OF ASSAULT WEAPONS
Aldon Smith, 24, of San Jose, has been charged with three felony counts of illegal possession of an assault weapon.
Smith is expected to self-surrender later this month. If convicted, Smith faces a sentence range between no time in custody to four years and four months in jail.
“The preamble to the assault weapons law states that each assault weapon ‘has such a high rate of fire and capacity for firepower that its function as a legitimate sports or recreational firearm is substantially outweighed by the danger that it can be used to kill and injure human beings’,” District Attorney Jeff Rosen said. “California’s prohibition of these powerful weapons is not about hunting or target practice. It is about interrupting the long history of death, carnage and grief assault weapons have inflicted on California communities.”
The investigation that led to these charges followed a June 29, 2012, widely-promoted party at Smith’s residence in unincorporated San Jose that turned violent when gang members showed up and paid the $10 admission fee. As the party continued into the morning of June 30th, several gang members became confrontational with other guests and an unknown person fired a handgun into Smith’s garage. Smith fired his own .45 handgun twice from his balcony to dissipate the crowd and a friend of Smith later fired the same .45 handgun several times in the air. An unknown party guest subsequently shot and injured two partygoers, and Smith himself was later stabbed. As the assaults were taking place, another unknown person entered Smith’s bedroom, removed an assault weapon, and carried it around the party.
Following the shooting, the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department searched Smith’s residence for evidence related to the assaults. As part of that search, Sheriff’s investigators recovered two rifles from Smith’s bedroom, including an Armalite AR10-T .308 caliber rifle. In a second search two weeks later, Sheriff’s investigators recovered three additional firearms from Smith’s bedroom and closet, including a Bushmaster ACR rifle chambered for 5.56mm NATO and a Bushmaster Carbon-15 .223 caliber rifle. None of the five weapons were registered with the California Department of Justice. Sheriff’s investigators documented several additional large-capacity magazines strewn about the floor of Smith’s bedroom. Ammunition in several calibers—both expended and unexpended—was found in Smith’s bedside table.
The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department submitted the case against Smith to the District Attorney’s Office in July 2013 and the District Attorney’s Office immediately undertook a secondary investigation into the firearms and the circumstances under which Smith purchased them. A DA investigation determined that three of the firearms were illegal assault weapons under California law.
The District Attorney’s investigation also revealed that Smith purchased the three assault weapons in Arizona on two separate occasions in 2011. Smith purchased two of the assault weapons from a gun dealer in Phoenix, Arizona on December 10, 2011, the day before the 49ers played the Arizona Cardinals. Such weapons, as configured, cannot be legally purchased in Arizona by residents of California. Even if purchased in Arizona by an Arizona resident, such weapons are illegal to possess in California.