(courtesy forum.opencarry.org)

“If a Tennessee grocery store bans guns on its property and a black bear or wild hog kills or injures a person who otherwise would be carrying his or her gun,” tennessean.com reports, “the gun owner would be allowed to sue the property owner if a newly introduced bill became law.” Uh, I don’t think Senator Delores Gresham introduced Senate Bill 1736 to protect licensed gun owners from bear or hog attacks. It makes property owners liable if they disarm someone and that someone gets waylaid by a two-legged varmint. It’s an idea that’s been floating around TTAG for a while. So, now that it’s in play (albeit without a chance of passage) how about it? Good idea? Workable? What?

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120 Responses to Question of the Day: Is a “Gun Free Zone” Property Owner Responsible for A Disarmed Visitor’s Safety?

  1. If the courts were logically consistent, then yes. If someone slips on my driveway and can sue me, then I have every right to sue someone for mandating that I am not allowed to defend myself against an attacker without providing adequate security.

    • Except that, even if the courts were “logically consistent”, the fact remains that the courts are often wrong and just make things up out of whole cloth. Just because they might put that misplaced power toward an end we value, doesn’t make it right. That’s rooting for lawlessness we like, when we should oppose lawlessness always.

      • I didn’t say if it’s right or wrong, I just said if the courts were logically consistent, people would be held responsible. The only reason why they’re not is because the courts hate the Second Amendment with a passion.

      • It is right. When a business invites the public in and then disarms that public, then that business is responsible for the reasonable safety of the individual. If they neglect that duty, then they should be able to be sued. If they don’t want the added liability, stop creating the hazard.

    • While I applaud this in theory, it will be near impossible to have a successful claim. The courts don’t like to play the “what if” game. They have a hard enough time with “but for”.
      The claimant would have to conclusively prove that had they been allowed to carry, they could have successfully prevented their own injury. I highly doubt anyone, including the Ayoobs and Miculeks of this world let alone Joe Ordinary Citizen, could prove this sufficiently in a court of law.

      • Remember that this would be a civil suit, not a criminal trial. In a civil court, the burden of proof is only “by a preponderance of the evidence”, not “beyond a reasonable doubt”. I think one could present enough evidence to satisfy that lower level of proof.

    • Why not just not enter the store?

      This idea of making everything a legal mess is awful. If you don’t like their rules, and if you don’t have to go in, don’t

      Now if it is, say, a courthouse or post office, some sort of government-mandated monopoly where you have no choice except jail, then yes, you should be able to due them for injury, and needn’t play the what-if game.

    • I would say not responsible unless there was no reasonable attempt to inform , I.e. multiple signage posted in at least two languages and picture language of the commonly seen gun with a slash through it .

      • So if the picture of the gun in the circle with the line through it appears to be a 92FS, my revolver is still OK, right? 🙂

        • And if the sign reads, “No guns allowed”, well, that’s plural and I only have the one… (That defense may only work once, ever.) 🙂

    • +1. Frankly I’m surprised it hasn’t come up already when you apply logic, however anti-gun laws in general are illogical and often times incoherent, mainly because the people who write them are illogical and incoherent.

    • The ability to sue, because someone that might have been armed to protect others is a good idea. While I am near sighted and desire optics on either a shotgun or a handgun, another liability is a head injury that has, mental health attempting to label a ADA certified permanent disability as imaginary. And mental health is about the Tradition Defined Christian Label, only to maximize programs I can be coerced into.
      And because having witches threatening possible lawsuit, for not gaining access to the Tradition Defined Christian oriented programs I am forced toward is working. This threatening people that disarm customers should also work. While I will incite those witches to have me investigated to prove me not to be in natural harmony with the Tradition Defined version of Christianity, to increase the headaches caused to bureaucrats. So bring that Witch’s Council on, because I plan to make many Witch Covens misbehave. And likewise, I enjoy it when people are encouraged to sue those who remove protection from threat by disarming.

      • This previous post was edited by the equipment, by chopping out tabs and separations between paragraphs. Converting multiple paragraphs into a single paragraph, then not allowing a removal of this altered entry. So the confusing running together of paragraphs, resulted from a not removable entry being forced to be left in its altered from. Being no longer alterable into the intended format or removable.

      • This multiple reply is the direct result of not being allowed to remove the intentionally altered by the computer system and not removable, original comment. It is bureaucrats that enforce, special programs for classifications such as Tradition Defined Christians then coerce people into those categories.

        And I am using blatant spaces like the one that should be left above this paragraph, where this might not be a removable by me comment just like the original comment. Because the same systems that actively alter comments to make them unreadable, also prevent their removal. So if the original comment is not removable just blame the management of this website for preventing editing and removal of comments. With my now entering this comment to learn if a space in this banning of comment removal website, respects spacing between comments.

      • This list of replies to my comment would not have needed to be this great in number, if the original comment would have been allowed to remain in the intended form. With the option of my actually removing the altered with possible intent to cause confusion format.

        And I plan to cause a growing number of people to threaten lawsuit for both my being listed as a Tradition Defined version of Christian, along with suing for not being allowed into special programs for Tradition Defined Christianity. Where a group of liars proclaim a bizarre group of traditions must be held by a person, decided upon by some power crazed bureaucrats, then claim Programs for Accelerated Education and other things must be enforced.

        With labels of insanity being threatened as part of enforcing this religious classification, by bureaucrats. And I am in Fairbanks, Alaska, with these bureaucrats also accusing me of hating witches, pagans, and plenty of other groups of people. So violence by bureaucrat enforced and labeled by bureaucrats as friend types show up, if I would go to Yang Style Taiji Class because of it looking excessively Pagan. And anything looking Pagan, is evidence against the label of Tradition Defined Christian.

        Those I am accused of calling friends, being sport fighters, bureaucrats from Fairbanks Resource Agency such as Vanessa Brown want to introduce as friends. They need to be listed as terrorist, along with those threatening mental health services for not accepting the traditions listed as Christianity, also needing to be listed as terrorist.

        And after I guide enough of the witches and pagans to proclaim themselves to be, Tradition Defined Christians. Their lives will be actively ruined by bureaucrats using that label to justify plenty of belligerence. While the original comment if either editable or removable, would have allowed the lack of need for plenty of replies to that ruined original comment. Eventually enough people will become enraged at the type of program the bureaucrats accused me of being compatible with, along with my getting people to convert back to witchcraft and paganism with a new found hatred for the bureaucracy associated with Christianity.

      • I plan to cause many witches to misbehave, just like gun rights activist cause people to misbehave. And if those in organizing the witchcraft in this State of Alaska hate me for it, have them go after those defining me as some kind of Tradition Defined Christian. Because those bold faced liars force me to take action, of directing witches to act badly. Also we already have tyranny in at least one place, being those enforcing the practices of Tradition Defined Christianity requiring worshiping the leadership and other Unholy things.

        • Did it occur to you during any of this senseless babble (by the way, breaking it into paragraphs did not inject any sense into it) that this is a gun forum, not one concerned (either pro or con) with witchcraft?

          Yeesh.

        • Dear Emery , If you are serious , I pray you receive the help you need , and if you are not serious , I believe you may be coughing up cherry pits soon .
          Please be careful .
          Finish the fight my man and stay warm .
          Get on the Denali Highway and drive about 150 miles North .

    • In theory it’s a good idea, especially if said store is the only game in town.
      Whether is can be enforced, even via civil suit is another question. In some cases it won’t help with a lawsuit – say, if you or a loved one has almost no time to react to a violent event. The argument will be even if you were armed it wouldn’t have done you any good.

      But it might cause liability-shy companies and businesses to evaluate their policies. Perhaps changing those no-gun signs to ones that say “Open or Concealed all guns must be holstered” or similar. That way if there is an “accident” it’s more likely liability can be shifted to the gun’s owner. Claims (usually brought by anti-gun groups) that the store “should have” banned guns for safety can be deflected by pointing out holsters were required and security of the firearm was the owner’s responsibility.

      I’ll point out that the anti-gun groups are likely to make a claim that their “right to safety” is an unenumerated right under the 9th Amendment sooner or later. No such right exists, not can it exist. We might as well insist on the “right” to read minds or walk on water.

  2. That’s right! If the gov thinks manufacturers should be liable for what someone down the road does with their firearm – gun free zone locations should be responsible for everyone’s safety and liable if a criminal comes in and robs them, rapes them, or murders them.

    • Beat me to it! Holding the store where you’re injured liable makes far more sense than holding gun manufacturers liable for some dirt bags actions 5 years later.

    • This notion that a fire arm manufacture can be liable for misuse is absurd but in todays world I’m sure it will have to be argued before , at a minimum , a circuit court judge and in our current state of these courts it will probably go all the way to the US Supreme court where common sense , and rule of law should prevail and in todays current Supreme court environment it should be thrown out , but in tomorrows Supreme Court environment , if we would foolishly elect anyone other than Ted Cruz , who knows , it will probably go against the manufacturers and they will be shut down as a result .
      If the gun is defective and shoots on it’s own or sideways when you aim straight , well…. maybe liability will be transferrable but ………….. I don’t see it .
      Is Ford Motor responsible for not making a car that will not go where the operator points it , say into a crowd of mooslems .
      If I set down and drink 20 gallons of milk in an hour is the he h

      • This site is a little whacky today .
        ……………………..If I drank 20 gallons of milk in one hour and fart myself to death is the dairy bottler responsible or the dairy farmer , how about the freaking cow , could someone please sue the cow .
        This is all semantics on a table with two short legs . It is hyperbole out the yen yang and in a real world , would never need addressed .
        S I H T … S I … E D I S P U … D L R O W

  3. i’ve heard this legal concept thrown around for awhile in the gun community. i dont think it holds any water. what i do think is possible is that if you have a really good lawyer and the right judge you could make that argument and it COULD gain some momentum, COULD not WILL. It seems to make logical sense but that has no place in the American Legal System.

    • Agree.

      This proposed law is ridiculous. Gun rights do not trump property rights. They both hold equal weight (or depending on your rights theory, gun rights are derived from property rights and self ownership). And in no way is the property owner liable unless you can prove some kind of negligence. You made the choice to disarm and enter the property, no one forced you. Now on the other hand if we are talking about a government facility where you have to go to access rights/services that is a completely different situation. I would support a law like this if and only if it applied only to government owned or operated buildings.

      In this type of situation voting with your wallet is most appropriate.

      • Oll korrect, VT. This opens up a slimy can of worms. No one has to enter a gun-free store or restaurant.

        Saying that, I wonder if a usually-armed employee — say a woman who’s being actively stalked — would have standing to demand alternate protection.

      • I agree with your assessment. Private property owners have a certain amount of leeway when it comes to the conduct which is permissible (or not on their property), even if such conduct is constitutionally protected. Only in situations of negligence (where a reasonable person would have a duty to act to prevent an occurrence) would come into play when trying to determine if there is any additional responsibility on the part of a property owner.

        I think a better question would be in a state, such as Illinois, where property owners can ban otherwise legal concealed carry by using state approved signage, which carriers the force of law (i.e. disobeying the sign can result in criminal prosecution), would liability for injuries transfer to the state?

        If you recall in the Shepherd v, Madigan case, one of the compelling arguments was that the plaintiff was a legal gun owner, who was violently attacked and suffered injuries. Her argument was that the state, vis a vis unconstitutional legislation, had prevented her from possessing the necessary ballistic means to defend herself from a violent attacker. Her assertion that if she had access to her weapon, she could have prevented great bodily harm was instrumental in overturning Illinois’ ban on concealed carry.

        I would be interested in hearing what an actual attorney, who is familiar with this type of law, would have to say about the legal theory.

      • VTAero: I find this the most persuasive argument I have heard. You have flipped my opinion 180. The only exception I can think of is a place you HAVE to enter. DMV or courthouse or post office. Then if there isn’t any armed protection on site then they ARE negligent.

    • Yes, the property owner is responsible if he takes away your protection. This isn’t new precedent.

      Deuteronomy 22:8
      “When you build a new house, you must build a railing around the edge of its flat roof. That way you will not be considered guilty of murder if someone falls from the roof.”

      Private property rights have nothing to do with this. And saying that somebody chose to go in an unsafe place is not a valid defense against liability for a property owner not protecting them.

      • You misread the text. If I have a defect in construction or maintenance of my house, I am responsible for the injuries caused thereby. But that does not mean that I am responsible if a thief or assassin breaks in in the night and murders one of my family or my guests. Indeed, the banning of arms by guests inside one’s home has ancient antecedents. For example, in Sottish tradition, one must completely disarm except for one’s eating knife (people carried their own utensils) to avoid the risk that your guest was not as friendly as he might seem.

  4. Back when there were Blockbuster Video they had a sign up that said no concealed weapons. I was a kid and too young to even own a firearm but asked “so with this sign, what measures have you put in place to guarantee my safety?” Some people don’t know they have a stuttering problem until asked the right question.

  5. A property owner should not be held liable for the unauthorized and illegal acts of a criminal any more than a gun manufacturer or seller should be held liable for the criminal acts of others.

    • The suit wouldn’t hinge on the responsibility of the business to stop a criminal from attacking, but the fact that they prevented the plaintiff from being capable of their own defense. Totally different scenario than suing the gun manufacturer. The gun manufacturer gave you every opportunity to purchase you own gun, it’s not their fault that you didn’t care enough about your safety to protect yourself. In this case the business denied you your civil rights. It’s not right for them to do that without taking responsibility for the consequences.

    • Just like Gov William said, COMPLETELY different scenarios.

      Businesses have requirements that you surrender rights when you enter the premises all the time.

      Examples:
      Metal detectors at Disney Land.
      Checking your purse for booze at the football game.
      Making you sign a NDA before you go to a research laboratory.
      Being essentially kidnapped after a surgery if you want to leave and you’re still on mind-altering medication.
      Signing away the right to litigate wrongful actions.
      Locking you up in a room if you are examining priceless jewelry or antiques so you can’t run away with them.

      The list goes on. However they are perfectly within their rights to ask you to forfeit your liberties if you enter their premises. You made a choice. However, this does not excuse them from fault when their little scheme goes horribly wrong and you end up suffering when you should not have as they broke the natural order of things and compromised your ability to act reasonably.

      Suppose the jewelry store locked up shoppers in the examination room so they could not steal the jewels. If a fire broke out in the building due to arson from a third party, the business can’t be held responsible for the arson. The CAN, the SHOULD be responsible for the deaths of the people trapped in the room if they can’t get out. That was negligent, and unnatural.

      If you are sedated by a clinic for an operation, then they leave your stretcher unattended for hours and someone rips you off or rapes you, that is THEIR FAULT. They rendered you unconscious. They must protect you since you cannot protect yourself.

      If a business disarms you, THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE for protecting you, despite insistence to the contrary. If the place blows up from a truck bomb, their disarming sign wouldn’t affect the outcome. And person-on-person crime that happens is totally different. If I was on a jury, I would try my hardest to put the business into bankruptcy. Show that however chickenshit they are about firearms, the alternative is suicidal. Make their decision easy.

      • The circumstances are different, but the legal predicates are the same. Both require an illegal action by a third party who is not under the control of some person with no evil intent.

        I know you guys want everything slanted one way, but that’s not the way the world or the law works.

        • Ralph, someone downstream mentioned the customer made the decision to walk into the store even tho it was posted “no guns”. Wouldn’t that indicate kind of an “assumption of the risk” issue, in addition to the conceptual difficulties you (and I) are having with this proposal?

        • If “that’s not the way the world or the law works” then every fraternity can breath a sigh of relief that they are covered with their hazing. As long as they don’t physically harm the pledge, his blundering into the highway, driving drunk, or tumble off a balcony isn’t their problem as they cannot control his actions. And he was there voluntarily.

          Oh wait, hmmmm. That doesn’t sound like what happens now, does it?

          Back before hazing was widely criminalized, “that’s not the way the world or law worked” but they still got their asses sued to hell. I think what this Question of the Day is asking is not

          “Should the government put some kind of legal requirement on businesses to provide security if they claim to be a gun free zone?”

          but rather

          “Can we say that disarming customers makes them more vulnerable to attack and therefore a moral responsibility exists to acknowledge this and prepare for it? If so, what can we do to make sure a business’s cowardice and anti-gun dogma is properly constrained by greed and fear of loss?”

          Civil litigation is the answer. Anyone know where to sign up for jury duty? That case I would enjoy.

        • @ cloud 1911: You do realize that it is the government that creates and enforces “civil liability”, don’t you? You seem to be saying that it is somehow something that doesn’t involve the government’s coercive power. Establishing a basis for “civil litigation” is precisely “the Government putting a legal requirement” on the property owner.

        • You are probably right as the law is practiced now. However, if the state passes a law that states that if you bar legal gun owners from carrying in your business you must assume responsibility for their safety, then that would leave them open to a suit, not for the damage the criminal created but for the damage that could have been avoided had the carrier been armed. The question is, is a law like that just. If properly applied I believe it would be.

          The problem for the plaintiff is that in most cases having a gun doesn’t make you invincible. If you’re shot you’ll have to convince a jury that had you been armed you wouldn’t have been shot. You won’t be awarded damages for being denied your right to shoot the criminal unless that caused you further damage. For instance if you’re stabbed 7 times you’d have a pretty good case that had you had your gun you’d have only been stabbed 2 or 3. You’ll also have to convince the jury that you would have been carrying. Just because you have a permit doesn’t mean you carry everywhere you go. If you carry concealed, how many people know you carry religiously that could testify to that? You won’t be able to go after damages for emotional trauma either because you’d probably be even more traumatized if you had been stabbed and shot and killed your attacker.

          As far as Another Robert’s ‘assumption of risk’ precedent I don’t see that loophole surviving if the law specifically dictates the business assume that risk.

  6. I don’t think that this is a good idea. I think that they should be liable if the property owner/controller knew or should have known about a specific threat, but did nothing or not enough to prevent it.

    • So with the recent upticks in shootings (according to the liberals and the media), and the uptick in robberies (locally in my area), would it be reasonable to assume 7-11s and Kum and Gos would have a higher chance of being robbed and thus the risk of something bad happening is enough to make the owners liable?

      Just a thought I heard recently from a judge.

    • @Drew, your position makes legal sense. In such a case, where the owner had actual knowledge of some tangible threat and did nothing to prevent it, liability could be found in negligence.

      Absent such knowledge, there’s no basis for liability.

  7. I believe this law is on the books in a handful of states. I read something a few years ago, I think it said there were 6 states at the time. Have no idea which.

    Right idea, but it won’t be popular in some circles.

  8. Businesses can be held liable for not having the building up to code, not having proper locks and alarms, and even for not having adequate lighting in the building and parking lots.

    So, if all things be equal, than businesses could be held liable for not having adequate security measures in place when you are “prohibited” from being armed.

    I think the concept might be a bit radical, but hey, the anti’s play like that, so I say go for it.

    • Businesses can be held liable for not having the building up to code, not having proper locks and alarms, and even for not having adequate lighting in the building and parking lots.

      Absolutely correct, because those failures are within the business’ control.

      If there is a shooting in a “gun free” store, the business did not have control over the shooter. Blaming the business instead of the shooter is exactly the opposite of what we’re supposed to stand for.

      • Your comparison seems like apples to oranges to me.

        They do not have control over a shooter but they do have control over the security they hire. In each of your examples you give the business had control over the precautions they take but not what they are taking precautions against. For instance the business has no control over faulty wiring starting a fire, beyond hiring licensed electricians, but does have control over fire extinguisher and fire alarms. They have control over proper lighting but not people tripping in the dark. By the same token a business has no control over a shooter targeting them, but they do have control over the precautions they take for such a freak occurrence, like proper security.

      • I see your point, and I’m not saying you’re wrong. I am, however, saying I am tired of fighting fair with people who don’t (anti’s.)

        Anti’s have no problem fighting dirty and using underhanded legal tactics. I’m starting to think we should loosening the chain in a few places and do the same.

        Nothing crazy, just a few jabs when the ref isn’t looking.

      • Sure they have a reasonable amount of control… The property owner could choose not to disarm the individual. It’s simple. Disarm someone and you take liability for their reasonable safety. Don’t want the liability? Don’t make people vulnerable by disarming them on your property.

        • Hey, if you don’t want to be unarmed…then don’t go there. Go somewhere else.

          It’s a business. You don’t HAVE to do business with them if you don’t like their terms. And they sure as fuck don’t have to do business with you on your terms.

        • If they invite the public in while consciously and intentionally creating an unsafe environment, there should be civil liability.

        • I barely agree with civil liability. Statism in the modern US has lead me reluctantly to acceptance. I don’t agree with criminal liability except in cases of government infringement.

  9. With that kind of thinking we could hold judges and probation boards accountable for crimes carried out by the criminals they set free. Luckily I don’t know how that system works, but it seems like a logical step to me.

    • Missed the window to edit my post. I wanted to add that I am in favor of personal responsibility, that’s one of the reasons I own guns in the first place. I don’t need a court system to know right from wrong and act accordingly.

  10. I think it is a bad idea. Just because someone makes a law that you (and I) disagree with like banning CCW or Open Carry does not mean adding another bad law to the books is ok. What if you did have your gun, and a bear still ran amuck on someones property and harmed you? Would you sue then? The bear is the bad guy in this situation, not the property owner. if it is their property and they don’t want me armed, i should respect that. if i am that worried about my safety, i don’t have to shop there.

    I also think it is pretty weak to slip on a driveway and sue someone. I think a person has to be truly negligent to really be at fault. telling you ahead of time that you need to be disarmed to enter the premises is kind of fair warning. I just wouldn’t go there.

    • Actually, many snowbelt states require you to clear the sidewalk and the path across your driveway within a specific period of time you get fined and are civilly liable if someone falls and is injured.

      • The principal in these types of cases and statutes is in line with general principals of premises liability. A landowner/occupier is liable for dangerous conditions on the premises if the owner/occupier knew or should have known of the defect (through the exercise of reasonable diligence and inspection) (i.e., had actual or constructive notice of the defect) and had an opportunity to repair prior to the accident. Since snow and ice are a readily apparent (not latent or hidden) defect, establishing notice of the dangerous condition, the statute sets a reasonable time for the property owner to cure the defect, after which liability attaches.

        • I own a gas n go in high crime area that has been robbed multiple times. I post 30.06 sign knowing that I will be robbed again. Sure enough the next day I get hit and robber kills one of my customers who disarmed enter the store. How is that different than not clearing my sidewalk?

        • How is that different than not clearing my sidewalk?

          @td, it’s different because YOU didn’t clear the sidewalk, but YOU didn’t shoot anyone.

        • Ralp, but the store owner posted a sign that prevented the permit holder from carrying his weapon which cost the murdered his life.

  11. Easy, not if they put up a no pigs or bear sign too.
    Actually I’d posit it would be your own fault for disarming. Don’t want to get attack while unarmed” – Don’t go to places you have to be unarmed.

  12. I think not. But as a business owner, providing a place of public accommodation, it has been held, rightly or not, that one cannot discriminate against certain (protected list here) groups of people. It seems logical therefor that a law abiding citizen, exercising their natural, civil, and Constitutionally protected rights (thanks RF), should not be discriminated against for any reason. And therein lies the proper legal recourse. Eliminate all GFZs from the discrimination standpoint. It’s all about not going back to… “We don’t want your kind here”.

    • Discrimination is completely and absolutely legal. We discriminate every day, and we should. We choose who we associate with, and who we don’t. That’s fine.

      You may choose not to associate with people of a different race, religion, gender, whatever and that’s your choice. For example, if you want a roommate of a certain ethnicity, that’s usually legal. Nobody can take that right away from you.

      Discrimination doesn’t become illegal until and unless some lawmaking authority says so, based on some public policy. Which is why a person’s ability to discriminate in employment and public accommodations, for example, is highly restricted.

      • Yet, a bakery was forced out of business for not making a gay couple a wedding cake, not denying gays mind you but not wanting to endorse a gay marriage.

  13. Reminds me of the recent story in NYC where a father was forced at gunpoint to flee while his daughter was raped….shouldn’t someone be civilly and possibly criminally liable for preventing this family from protecting themselves?

  14. I’ve always wondered if most civil cases are won by merely the insurance company doing the math and figuring that it will cost more to fight it in court vs what the plaintiff is asking for and settling out of court?

    Respectfully Submitted

    • Approximately 95-98% of all cases, civil AND criminal, settle before trial. It is not just the math, the judicial system could not possibly try all of the cases that are filed.
      The math part in civil actions is also easy to understand. In every civil case, there is one winner and one loser if it goes to trial, and there is always the risk that a case will go sideways. Further, trying cases is an expensive proposition for both sides, and in many, the cost of trial exceed the value of the case. In nonpersonal injury cases, for example breach of contract, neither side is insured, and the lo9ser pays the attorneys fees of the winner if there is an attorneys fees clause in the contract. Therefore, both sides have an incentive to reduce risk and settle the case, and in many, the plaintiff gets less than the demand, and the defendant pays less than he would if liability and damages are established.
      For criminal cases, the defendant is paying out of pocket attorneys fees that accrue rapidly, unless he has a public defender. Plus there is the added incentive that any sentence after conviction will likely be harsher than the one offered by the prosecutor. The prosecutor has hundreds of cases, and neither he nor the courts can try them all. Many defendants are guilty of at least some of the charges filed (although it is true that many prosecutors will creatively charge everything they can think of so as to have something to offer to dismiss in exchange for a guilty plea). Both sides have an incentive to settle, and most cases do.

  15. Well- I’d support a law like that as long as it also made government entities liable for the safety of folks they’ve disarmed in areas under their control (schools etc.)

    • It’s already settled law that the police have no duty to protect you personally.

      Forget that, though, where do you think the tax money to pay for all that extra security would come from? Do you think it would even work? We’ve spent billions on airport security and terrorists still get through. Both the shoe bomber and underwear bomber were stopped by passengers (unarmed ones, at that!)

      Irony of ironies would be if you cannot afford guns, ammo, training and licensing because of the higher taxes for security at public places, only to be killed in one’s own home where there’s no special government security.

  16. We’re talking about a negligence claim here. OK, so what are the elements of such a claim?

    There has to be a duty on the other party’s part. I’m not seeing that as anywhere near reasonable. You’re doing business with there for a reason. Their duty cannot reasonably extend beyond the scale and scope of that business activity. No contamination in the food to make sick? OK. No broken seats to slam you to the floor? OK. No convicted rapists/murderers/embezzlers on the payroll performing in-home services for customers? Also, OK. These all relate to the business activity itself. Protecting you from any and all violent crime? Too open ended and the business has no expertise in that, so that’s out.

    Next there’s breach of that duty. What steps must a business take to satisfy this supposed obligation? Hire a legion of heavily armed guards? Impose TSA style person and property searches at the front door? Bomb sniffing dogs? Where doesbit end? No, literally, where does it end? At the front door? The property line? Must there be facility for the safe and secure transfer of you to your next stop? I’m not seeing anything but arbitrary and infinitely elastic standards here as to what would even constitute a breach of duty. So that’s out.

    Then there’s the requirement that the breach of duty directly caused the injury. Well, we’re already positing that it’s some terrorist or spree killer or other violent criminal who’s doing the injuring, not the business itself. So that’s out, too.

    There’s much more to the law than this, if course, butbif this idea fails at this rudimentary level, then the rest is moot. Ultimately, this is a private property rights issue. Don’t like it? Don’t go there.

    • I agree with this analysis. There is, as a general proposition, no duty by the government or private individuals to protect anyone from the criminal misconduct of third persons. The California Supreme Court did an extensive analysis of this issue in the context of a woman raped in a store at a shopping mall where she worked. The determination of the existence of a duty of care is a legal issue that requires balancing competing interests, and in concluding that no duty was owed, the Court specifically noted the extraordinary cost to businesses to provide the level of security necessary to deter such crimes. There goes duty right out the window.

      Second, and a more fundamental point many commentators miss, is that the second amendment protects the RKBA only as against GOVERNMENT interference, not private interference. A private business that bans guns is NOT violating your second amendment rights, so that goes out the window too. Nor does the “discrimination” angle have any traction; gun owners are not members of a “suspect class” that have suffered historical discrimination. Suspect classes, now often defined by statute, include race, sex age, national origin, religion, and more recently, sexual preference.

      • So are you OK with the government forcing bakers to pay gays money because they didn’t want to make a cake for a gay wedding

        • Can’t speak for Ralph, but I agree with his position here. And anyone who has read my posts here knows that I am most definitely “not OK” with the .gov forcing bakers to bake cakes for anyone. In fact, that argument militates in Ralph’s favor, as in, the .gov has no business telling a property owner who he must allow onto his property any more than they should be telling people who they must bake cakes for.

  17. While I do agree that 2a rights don’t trump property rights , I do feel that a business does have moral duty to provide an equal or greater level of security I return. Obviously, we willingly choose to do business with somebody under agreed upon terms, but if a necessary service is unobtainable elsewhere… I work at a hospital, and there are actually some pretty good reasons for allot of people not to carry there , or at least in some places, for the same reasons prison guards don’t. Unfortunately that means that hospitals are perpetual soft targets. There are never more than a few of us armed, legally, at any given time. I would prefer policies dictating that employees obtain weapons retention training, or having some sort of unit gun rack than total disarmament. The truth though is that if an otherwise conscientious gun toting nurse may have other things in mind when wrestling with a psych patient than keeping track of their gun. At the same time, it is unfair and immoral in my opinion to put people in a position where they have to walk back out to their cars at 0300 in dark parking garages with no serious means of defense. In settings like that at least, I can agree with the hospital corporation being liable for harm that comes to persons as a result of disarmament, poor maintenance, and regularly seedy locations.

  18. I have a feeling that I am going to get flamed badly … but no gut no glory.

    Short answer – NO…… but let me walk you through it.

    For me we have competing right here, property right versus the right to bear arms.

    I think any company that bans guns on their property is being short sited. This will only prevent law abiding citizens from carrying guns. Those who are out to committed violent acts will ignore the signs and enter the gun free zone without a second thought. My second amendment rights to not supersede another’s private property rights. (Public property is an completely different issue) As a property owner it is companies right to determine the rules of how that property is used and who is allowed on it, even if the rules make no logical sense. Like many here I choose to patronize establishments that welcome responsible citizens who happen to carry fire arms whenever possible.

    Should the property owner be responsible for your safety. No, you are responsible for your safety. POTG often talk about being situationally aware. When you go to a place you need to decide how safe it is. If it is not safe enough to go into without a gun, do you really want to go in even if your armed? Guns do not make us invulnerable; they only provide a chance to protect ourselves. Unless it’s your job to go in that place, you would better to leave. If you have a choice, never be at a stupid place, you never know when stupid people doing stupid things might show up.

    Holding the property owner responsible for the actions of a criminal who attacks you sounds a lot like holding gun companies responsible for the actions of a criminal who attacks you with one of their guns. We have to start holding people accountable for there. In both cases the Criminal choose his actions and he should be held accountable.

    That’s my opinion. YMMV

  19. I’ve got a constant problem with being mauled by bears while I shop. It’s incredibly annoying and it really, really hurts. I’m glad to know when this happens in Tennessee, I’ll be able to get some comeuppance.

  20. Unless it’s somewhere that you are compelled to go for some reason (government office, courthouse, that sort of thing), I don’t see how you can hold the property owner responsible. They post a sign, you are free to take your business elsewhere. The only places I would support such a policy of “you disarm me, you assume liability for my safety” are places like the aforementioned government facilities, where I have no alternative options.

  21. Its a tempting concept, but it seems dangerously close to holding a 3rd party responsible for a criminal’s actions – which is something we are usually vehemently against. How can you support this position, and still be consistent with regards to holding gun manufacturers liable for crimes committed with their products?

    The proprietor made a decision to create a gun free establishment, you made the decision to be at the gun free establishment, and the criminal made a decision to ignore the rights of both and commit a crime. As far as I can tell, only the criminal is liable.

    My opinion could be moved where public/gov’t spaces are concerned, however.

  22. As a matter of principle, the idea works. Courts have been holding businesses liable for decades (centuries, depending on the jurisdiction) because they imperiled the general public through their private transactions. Dram Shop Liability comes immediately to mind, where a bartender keeps serving booze to a customer so drunk he can barely stand, then watches the guy stagger to his car. The guy t-bones your kid driving home from school. The bar can be held liable. Not exactly the same but pretty damn similar.
    My personal take is that if a business owner posts his property as no firearms allowed, there’s an implicit representation that the patrons will be in a gun-free environment and the owner incurs a duty to ensure that’s the case. An old established principle is that you have no duty to clear the snow off your sidewalk and steps, but if you choose to do so and miss a patch, and somebody slips and falls, you’re liable for their injuries. You don’t have to do it in the first place, but if you do, you have to be thorough. I’d argue that applies to posting a gun-free business — regardless of whether there’s a state statute — and a gun-free business owner is liable for damages if a customer gets shot.

  23. I see you’ve learned of our openly liberal rag,this is what the buckle of the Bible belt calls its state newspaper

  24. Back in the day I sold insurance(property,life,health,auto,home owners). You are NEVER totally free of liability when people come on your property. They can SUE you(or TRY) for whatever the hell they desire. I know there are exceptions(gubmint) but generally when you open for business you’re at least somewhat bound.

  25. At the risk of being labeled an “absolutist” I don’t see how 2A supporters can get behind this idea. Replace “store owner” with “federal government”, increase the scale to cover the entire country & you have the entire argument for disarmament in a nutshell. Since the state provides legally-deemed “adequate protection” in the form of Police, Military & alphabet soup agencies, why can’t we all be legally disarmed? DO NOT WANT….

  26. jazzdelaney

    You cannot replace store owner with federal government. As was pointed out earlier the Constitution and Bill of Rights set restrictions on what the government is allow to do as a protection to the governed. The store owners are part of the governed.

    If we condone the government being able to tell store owners what they can do with their property ( IE you must allow guns, provide security, whatever) it opens up a argument that they could tell us what we can do with our property ( IE turn your guns in for safety)

    • I support civil liability for those wjo knowingly create a reasonably avoidable hazard, especially in a situation where an owner invites the public. I think they should be able to be sued in an unbiased civil court in before a jury of peers. One way around that would be to have patrons sign a waiver prior to entry.

      • Waivers do not have to be written. They can be implied by conduct. See a sign banning guns, and enter anyway, you have impliedly consented to the limitation on your (nonexistent)”right” to carry arms on someone else’s property.

        • Actually the real non-existent right is the right to be on his property, whether or not he consents. If he chooses to withhold consent for whatever reason, you should stay out, If he chooses to withdraw consent for whatever reason, you should get out.

          A “no guns” sign is his giving consent, but only to the unarmed. If you are armed and are unwilling to disarm, you must stay out.

          (Note: The above applies to business property, not government property.)

  27. This is an interesting question. While I believe that this may be a good idea, what if the store allowed concealed carry, and a conceal carrier walked in and shot someone. You can bet that the liberals would say that the store owner would be liable because he didn’t have the gun free zone sign in the window.

  28. I’ve been saying this for almost 40 years. When a property owner knowingly creates a reasonably avoidable hazard, that property owner should be liable. The same ought to be true for government. When in government custody, government is responsible for your reasonable safety.

    IMHO, this is just common sense.

    • In this case, with a “no guns” sign, you’ve been priorly warned of the unsafe condition, yet choose to enter anyway. Your problem, not his.

  29. Here’s my opinion. I am a huge 2nd amendment rights supporter, but I am also a believer in property owner’s rights. As silly as it is to make a business gun-free, that is the owner’s property. It’s not the people’s, it’s not the governments, it’s not NATO’s, and it’s not their sheriffs. If they say you aren’t welcome there, regardless of how unjust the reason; they should be allowed to determine who is on their property. A business is no different than a home aside from the fact that you invite clientele inside rather than close friends and family.

    Just as someone should be able to say I can’t enter their home because I hold different beliefs socially, they should be able to turn you away if you are armed. It is foolish, but it is their right to do so. The gay wedding cake comes to mind. Sure, it was probably a bad call to turn down that business financially speaking; but it was their right to do so. The government should not be able to force you to do business with anyone.

  30. I wonder as to why the thing is described as having “no chance of passage”. That being said, what of a person lacking a carry permit, who is unarmed while legitimately on or in the premises. I would say that the proprietor has the right to so post their property, however in the event that the property is usually open to the public, as is the case with a store for instance, ,the proprietor, having posted their place of business or property assumes full and complete responsibility for the safety of his patrons, while they are on or in his property.

    • Have to disagree. When you see that no weapons are allowed on the property, you assume the responsibility of the risk you take when stepping into that business. I think it’s stupid to make your place of business a gun-free zone as much as the next guy, but the customer should take that risk into account themselves just the same as a patron to a chocolate factory should look out for peanuts if they have an allergy, and should respect the wishes of the property owner. Again, I hate gun free zones; but the property owner has the right to tell you no, no matter the reason; personal or otherwise. Uncle Sam shouldn’t be able to twist your arm and force you to allow someone onto your own personal property under any circumstances. That opens the floodgates to a whole slew of future problems.

  31. Last summer, l went to a well known national jewelry store to buy her engagement ring. I had a pocket full of 100dollar bills, and my Pistol was in my zip up pocket of my liberty bibs. Same place it always is. Directly above the handle to the entry door in big white contrasting letters, no concealed carriers allowed!!! Guess they value their inventory more than the lives of the customers going there to purchase it. Needless to say, l found a place that wanted my money, and didn’t mind my gun…

  32. Taken to the next logical step, if a private business is responsible for the safety of those that they disarm, then the government would be responsible for those that it disarms and the government will never allow itself to be held liable for anything it does. So, this will never make it into the law books.

    • The liability of individuals and the liability of governments are separate subject and subject to different sets of rules. Generally, people are responsible when their failure to use reasonable care results in injury to another. The government is generally not liable for anything except when it consents to being sued. This is called “sovereign immunity.” One must not confuse the two, since they are not comparable.

  33. If a criminal mugs you, robs you, rapes you, assaults you, steals your property, etc., the criminal is violating your rights. You have a right to defend yourself and your loved ones and your property. If a property owner deprives you of your right to keep and bear arms, he is depriving you of your right to self-defense. Therefore, by definition, the property owners is an accessory to the crime committed against you. The counter argument, that you have a right not to patronize the business depriving you of your rights is a specious argument: The business owner has opened his property to the public for purposes of commerce. He has no more right to deprive members of the public of their rights than does a criminal.

    • How about your home? If your neighbor walks over drunk as a skunk and want’s to eat dinner, shouldn’t you be allowed to tell him no; even if it’s legal to be drunk? It’s your home, after all. Isn’t a business yours just as much as your home?

      I HATE gun free zones, but I think as the owner, a businessman should be allowed to dictate who comes onto their property. Even if I disagree with their reasoning, I’d support their right to turn someone away.

  34. It’s a great idea. The more you make it financially cost antigunner’s for violating every citizens rights the faster we will realize the true spirit of the 2a.

  35. It’s private property – no one is forcing you to patronize a store that has a no guns policy. If you go in anyway, you know you’re entering an area of higher risk. It’s a choice you make. A sidewalk on your property is different. It’s often the only legal way to traverse your property or in the case of a delivery, access your residence. If you haven’t cleared it of snow, ice, etc, you can be liable in some locations. Sure you can go across the street, go into the street, any manner of alternatives but if the city or state law says you have to clean your sidewalk, then you have to or accept the liability of not doing so.

    All that said – concealed carry is concealed.

  36. I think it’s a good idea, although introducing a bear or wild hog into the bill’s language may give the usual Left Wing suspects an opening to disparage the bill based on the unlikelihood of such animal attacking you on the property of a convenience store. Why not just go with the more likely scenario? Convenience stores are as regularly held-up as taxicab drivers, perhaps even more so. Go with that. Giving immunity to some doofus who thinks a sign will keep armed robbers out is as rational as the Supreme Court ruling in Warren v. District of Columbia that neither government nor its political subdivisions, like Police Departments, have a duty to protect the individual, and ruling that Felons don’t have to register their firearms because doing so would force them to surrender their 5th Amendment protection against self-incrimination, and at the same time doing everything they can to allow government to gradually disarm the American People. The latest “stroke of a pen” of Sheik Barack Hussein al-Obama, places people who have trouble handling their finances, and in receipt of social security/other government benefits on the list of persons being barred from owning or buying firearms. When was the last time such a person picked up a weapon and headed for the nearest “Gun Free Zone” (sic) to engage in a public shooting? Yet another effort to KEEP EXPANDING the numbers of people barred from owning and buying weapons by the Left Wing Fascists. Right out of Adolf Hitler’s rule book. I urge people to read “Gun Control in the Third Reich”, by Stephen Halbrook- you don’t even have to buy it- check it out at your public library! I don’t have any financial stake in the book.

  37. I’m finding this to be a personally very satisfying idea, and one I’ve suggested for several years. But, now, I’m trying to think this through and I’m having a bit of trouble. If any of you guys are lawyers, especially personal injury guys or gals, please do chime in. The rest of us should just read a bit.

    I think the issue is somewhere between property and causation. If a restaurant forbids firearms, and an armed robber or nutter comes in to shoot up everybody – unless you can find a payment in the shooter’s bank account from the restaurant owner, there is no reasonable way the restaurateur could have forseen the attack. (A honky-tonk can’t so easily make the same claim.) So it’s not exactly like someone slipping on ice in my driveway – I could have foerseen that possibility and salted or shoveled it, or both. So essentially the business owner did not cause your injury, and could not reasonably have been expected to anticipate it – although the gun prohibition may have made the injury possible when the shooting did occur.

    So I don’t really know what to think about the prospects of this proposed legislation. IF it becomes law, it will quickly be a topic for the courts, because of the prohibitions on guns in so many other places – schools, parks, town offices, etc. by people trying to hold them responsible too for the safety of dead citizens. Perhaps that’s a good thing (I think so), but I foresee monumental resistance by all levels of government to this kind of law. Imagine, it might just be used on gun control legislators too (I wish!). The argument would be ‘you limited what arms I could have and when the home invaders showed up I was unable to effectively defend myself, so you are accountable for my injuries’.

    OK, lawyers, what do you guys think?

    I’d love for the business owner to be held personally liable for my damages, of course. But that assumes I’m stupid enough to actually obey – one reason I carry my weapon concealed, although I generally avoid giving a dime to such businesses. However, you don’t have to be a gun owner to be injured in a shooting either – and you might have been saved from it by a gun-carrying hill-billy had that guy disobeyed the prohibition on the door.

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