In 2016, the Tennessee legislature passed SB 1736/HB2033. The bill held businesses that banned defensive firearms from their premises responsible for damages inflicted by an armed aggressor while on their premises. It was a step too far. The bill later was changed to provide legal immunity for businesses that did not ban firearms. In Missouri, Representative Nick Schroder has introduced a bill that’s similar to HB 2033 in Tennessee.
The proposal, known as House Bill 96, which would apply when a person who is authorized to carry a firearm, is prohibited from doing so by a business and is then injured by another person or an animal.
If the injured person could otherwise have used a gun for self-defense, they could sue the business, which “assume(s) custodial responsibility for the safety and defense of any person” on their property who could carry.
Here is the opening paragraph of HB 96 [via mo.gov]:
1. Any business enterprise electing to prohibit the possession of firearms or other arms by the placement of signs as authorized under section 571.107, or other provisions of chapter 571, shall assume custodial responsibility for the safety and defense of an person who is authorized to carry fire arms or other arms under chapter 571 while such person is on the premises of the business enterprise. The provisions of this section shall not apply to private property not used for commercial purposes or private residences of any type. For purposes of this section, “business enterprise” means any business that sells or provides goods or services to the general public.
The bill’s only just been introduced. If passed, it would create a powerful incentive for property owners or managers not to put up “no guns” signs, or to take them down if they’re currently in place.
If property owners or managers post a “no guns” sign or leave one in place, they’d be held responsible for damages to legal gun carriers as a result of the ban. Only those locations that are required to be gun-free zones by state or federal law would be exempted. No thinking property owner, unless they’re strongly politically or ideologically motivated, are likely go against these incentives.
The bill follows a trend in several other states. Kansas grants immunity from liability to property owners and managers from damages that may result from legal gun owners possessing firearms on or in their property. Wisconsin does the same. As mentioned above, Tennessee provides a level of immunity to businesses which do not ban firearms.
©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.