Kimber Gun Rights Bulletin: Bill Introduced to Hold Gun Free Zone Owners Liable for Damages

missouri-state-seal

kimber_blk_logo_smallIn 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.

From news-leader.com:

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.

Gun Watch

comments

  1. avatar Joe R. says:

    Now apply the same logic in prosecuting government officials.

    Throw in violation of Constitutional Rights.

  2. avatar Curtis in IL says:

    “… shall assume custodial responsibility for the safety and defense of an person…”

    I really don’t know what that means in the judicial arena. And as much as I would love to stick it to those who want me disarmed, my gut tells me this has all kinds of bad precedent written all over it.

    I’m sure Ralph will weigh in.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      Funny you should mention it.

      I’ve been running scenarios through my mind, looking for the boogie man under the bed. There may be a few of them.

      The main thing is that any risk under this statute would be insurable, and insurance makes all the difference. Any wise person who runs a commercial enterprise should have an “all risk” policy anyway. The incremental cost, if there is any, would be manageable.

      The bottom line for me is that this risk, if treated the same as slip and fall, injury by fire or any other liability risk, would have a favorable impact on injured persons and would not cripple the businesses.

      1. avatar Cliff H says:

        What I would like to know, in the legal framework, is how is posting your business as a “Gun Free Zone” not equal to “maintaining an attractive nuisance”?

        1. avatar Ralph says:

          The doctrine of “attractive nuisance” is a tort doctrine that relates to children who might be attracted to a dangerous condition of the premises and injure themselves while trespassing.

          It has nothing to do with adults.

        2. avatar Cliff H says:

          Too bad. Otherwise we could sue everyone who donated to Hillary’s campaign. (Not that she’s attractive, just a nuisance.)

      2. avatar kevin says:

        Au contraire mon frère: After the first few policy-limits losses, insurers would add exclusions for any business that excludes guns. Then the landlords object because they are additional insureds on the liability policies of their tenants, and unlike many tenants actually have assets that they intend the insurance to cover. Then the businesses have to allow guns or lose their leases, and there is much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

        In the words of the immortal Maxwell Smart (maybe): “It’s so crazy, it just might work!”

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          With the coercive power of government that we seem now to endorse and support, yep, just about anything “just might work”.

        2. avatar Ralph says:

          Kevin, that’s absolute nonsense.

          Clearly, you and Sam The Tr0ll know absolutely nothing about commercial liability insurance. Nothing.

        3. avatar kevin says:

          Ralph: wanna bet? 😉

    2. avatar bLoving says:

      I’m no lawyer, just a humble gun salesman.
      I can confidently say most of you guys know I’m firmly in the more civil freedom =good category. But while I can appreciate that we, as people of the gun might benefit from this at first I can’t help but be reminded of the wise words “for every law that is passed, another freedom is lost”.
      It makes me wonder what the unintended consequences of this might be? For instance, what other laws might we then have precedent to pass dictating how an individual or company may run their business? Let us proceed with caution here, guys. I’m more for the repeal of laws to clear the books of dead weight rather than adding more.

      1. avatar uncle_pickle says:

        I understand your hesitation, and great care should be taken that no poison pill is thrown in by dirty democrats.

        With that said, the doctrine that property owners are not responsible for misfortunes occurring from the unlawful action of another is not exactly the same thing we are talking about. However, the laws protecting property owners from suit assume that the owner did not create a specifically unsafe situation.

        A jewelry store could have a policy that people in the showroom have to wear a bracelet that locks the doors if they get too close. Purhaps they’ve had people run out of the store with valuables, and want to prevent it. That’s a store policy. No one is allow to stay on premises without a bracelet. Trying to do so would constitute trespassing, and eventually refusal to cooperate would result in all the lethal force of the state brought down on the trespasser’s head.

        Anyone who goes to that store has (foolishly) agreed to the terms. Now, a bug in the system resulting in an unintentional lockdown when the fire alarms go off and everyone runs for the door is a problem. A unique problem that would not have existed without “unusual” behavior from the property owner. See, when someone puts on that bracelet, regardless of what they sign, there is an implicit agreement that the property owner shall take measures to ensure no significant danger is created by the unusual requirement.

        This principle is in motion at every amusement park in the country. Those locking seat restraints are not supposed to crush your ribs, or prevent you from evacuating the park in the event of a fire.

        A museum that doesn’t allow shoes to keep the carpets nice can’t just leave broken glass everywhere and make the excuse that it wasn’t the employees who broke the bottles. They have to clean it up and fast because it’s the property’s fault if someone gets torn up by glass, as that wasn’t an issue before the stupid shoe rule.

        When you go to the oral surgeon or outpatient surgery center, you agree to be put under, but they are also agreeing not to wheel your gurney out into an alley and leave you so they can lock up and go to lunch. The “unusual” circumstance of rendering you unconscious changes the expectations of what they are supposed to do to keep you from getting hurt while you CANNOT DEFEND YOURSELF LIKE YOU NORMALLY WOULD BECAUSE OF SOMETHING THEY DID.

        This idea is what you need to focus on. The normal societal expectations change when someone has been rendered unconscious, buckled down, “braceleted” like a nursing home patient, taken into custody (healthcare is a right, medication is a right when you’re locked up because you can’t go buy it) or disarmed.

        There are countless examples of this idea in play, and denying its existence isn’t honest at all.

  3. avatar Chris T from KY says:

    I hope in Missouri they are successful. I know it will be a uphill battle.
    Mean while in San Francisco the city refuses to take responsibility for releasing a 5 time felon illegal alien, who murdered Kate Stienle.
    I hope President Trump grinds the sanctuary city of San Francisco into dust when he with holds federal funds.
    Let the anti-civil rights Levi Strauss and the Tech companies pay more SF city taxes to support the homosexual power city that they love so much.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      “I hope President Trump grinds the sanctuary city of San Francisco into dust when he with holds federal funds.”

      You and me both.

      Been hearing all kinds of big, loud talk from those cities as to how they “Will always be a Sanctuary City” and how they “will never cooperate with immigration authorities”.

      They sure know how to talk the talk.

      Let’s now see if they can walk the walk with a new sheriff in town…

    2. avatar A Brit in TX says:

      That case in SF still makes my blood boil. The illegal who stole the pistol had been deported five times, had multiple felonies on his record and was still free to enter the US and walk around California free as a bird, despicable.

    3. avatar Cliff H says:

      First step, by Executive Order, cancel “Fleet Week” and post San Francisco as “Off Limits” to any sailor or Marine who does not have family living in the city.

  4. avatar Jim Bullock says:

    Legally, I’m not sure what the best option here is, the law being a donkey, and all.

    However, having this bill introduced at all frames the conversation nicely, and exactly the way the anti’s don’t want it framed.
    — There are risks in the world.
    — People may attempt to address those risks to themselves.
    — If you forbid people from taking care of themselves, you assume some responsibility for what happens next.

    In the end, we can get to the fundamental human and civil right to personally protecting yourself.

  5. avatar Eric says:

    I’m not sure about this one… Unless a government building or hospital, you are free to carry concealed in a business. If the owners catch you then they can only ask you to leave until it becomes an issue. That’s how it was explained to me in my mo cc class. We have a right to own firearms but they also have a right on their property to tell someone they don’t want guns. If only the gays could use the same logic about a damn cake…

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      It depends on what state you are in and if “force of law” applies…

  6. avatar Ralph says:

    The “no guns” signs might not come down, but the insurance coverage and costs might go up.

    At the end of the day, anti-gun businesses will remain anti-gun, but they’ll pay a bit more in insurance premiums.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Now, if they could just understand that we carry there regardless, unless they also pay for an armed guard with a metal detector.

  7. avatar BierceAmbrose says:

    If you insist on acting in loco parentis, at what point does imposed bad parenting become child abuse?

  8. avatar Sam I Am says:

    OK. So, we who love individual liberty, who treasure private business and property, who want government out of our hair at every turn. We now want to FORCE private individuals, private companies, private properties to bend to our demand for arms carry, everywhere, all the time, whatever the circumstances? How will we react when government tells us we our business and residence lots are too big, and they will be confiscated via imminent domain in order to create affordable housing on what used to be our backyard? (Its happening in Oregon). Anyone know what a “flag log” is?

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      No, Sam U Ain’t. It means that commercial business would pay a small additional premium, if any, to cover the liability if they ban guns.

      You really haven’t thought this through, have you?

      Thinking. Try it.

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        Yes I have thought it through….gunners want to force private businesses and individuals to accept firearms on their premises. Private means private. Means they have legal obligation to allow guns of any type on the property. Their business, their property, their rules. Go elsewhere.

        Gunners don’t want the government to regulate firearms….except when it suits gunners.

        That is what I think, that is what this whole notion that guns must be allowed everywhere because….guns.

        1. avatar Troybilt says:

          I agree with Sam 100% . You make a choice to enter the posted establishment. That choice to disarm and patronize a business that chose to post is on you.

        2. avatar LarryinTX says:

          I can agree as well. I just carry right on in and do my business, concealed means concealed. They *feel* safe, I am ready to defend myself and my family, and they can just die if it comes to that. Been doing that in TX for 15 years now.

        3. avatar Kendahl says:

          As you have already seen, a significant number of gun people agree with you. “My property; my rules.” However, when it comes to a business that caters to the public, that no longer applies. A bakery that sells wedding cakes cannot refuse an order from a gay couple. A city clerk who opposes gay marriage on religious grounds must issue marriage licenses to gay couples. If you are a landlord, you better have a good reason for turning away a black renter. In general, a business cannot turn away customers because of characteristics that make them members of classes protected by civil rights laws.

          Unless the law is changed, there is no down side for a business that prohibits the carrying of firearms by its employees and/or customers. When was the last time you heard of a business that was successfully sued by a customer who had been injured by an armed robber? On the other hand, if a customer was injured because an employee chose to resist an armed robber, the business will be held liable. If the resistance was by a customer, the business would probably prevail but still would bear the expense of a legal defense. Then, there is the robber who sues because it’s “unfair” for his victim to injure him while resisting. Insurers know this which is why they encourage their clients to prohibit firearms on their property. For a business owner, it’s better to risk the safety of his employees and customers than to provide protection against violent criminals or to let them protect themselves.

          I think a reasonable compromise would consist of two parts. FIrst, make “no guns” signs advisory only. A business would still have the power to fire an armed employee or to ban an armed customer. This wouldn’t affect anyone who believes “concealed means concealed.” Second, immunize businesses against liability when an employee or customer resists a violent criminal. Together, these measures would remove the disincentive for leaving the decision to go armed up to employees and customers.

        4. avatar Sam I Am says:

          The baker analogy fails, because…..well, you know.

          I have no problem with liability insurance for whatever risks a person wishes to “protect”. I have a big problem with government mandating that a specific risk must be covered, or treated as a “special case”. Somehow the country managed 230+ years without government getting involved in forcing a private business into liability for anything. Point is, if you truly believe in individual freedom, individual responsibility, reduced government intrusion, one cannot simultaneously cry, “except for that thing I want”.

        5. avatar Troybilt says:

          K

        6. avatar Kendahl says:

          “The baker analogy fails, because…..well, you know.” No, I don’t know. When private property is used for a business open to the public, there are significant restrictions on the owner’s treatment of customers that do not apply to guests in his home.

          “I have a big problem with government mandating that a specific risk must be covered, or treated as a ‘special case’.” The government already does that. Failure to maintain liability insurance on an automobile driven on public roads is a crime. If you don’t buy health insurance that meets their standards, the federal government assesses a penalty. Refusing to comply one way or the other gets you into the same trouble as refusing to pay your income tax.

        7. avatar Sam I Am says:

          Didn’t say government does not (often) mandate behavior or standards, only that I don’t like it. And am quite skeptical whenever gun people want to use the coercive power of government for a “special case” (guns). Indeed, I am always suspicious whenever faced with a decision where I might be the beneficiary, especially the primary beneficiary. One really big concern with federal governing is how the commerce clause will be twisted to support/defend/justify more government intrusion. The SC has ruled more than once that not being involved in commerce impacts commerce, thus business can be compelled to perform in a certain way. Someone once said (something like this), “A good idea will stand on its own; only a truly wretched idea needs government coercion.”

      2. avatar Charles5 says:

        Ralph, usually I like a lot of what you have to say. However, this time you are deadly wrong. The cost of the premium has nothing to do with it. This sets the precedent that a business can be held accountable for the actions of the general public. Do you not see the insanity of that? And you have the audacity to challenge Sam for not thinking?

        1. avatar Ralph says:

          “This sets the precedent that a business can be held accountable for the actions of the general public. Do you not see the insanity of that?”

          What the hell do you think insurance is for? Sometimes I think some of you guys don’t have the sense that god gave my cats.

  9. avatar Jay in Florida says:

    Sounds about right to me. Hold all responsible who deny me my rights in or on even Federal property.
    Private property I can understand. But open your door to the public. Some ownership rights should go down the drain.
    If I cant enter armed in your store(which I can by the way here in Florida). Something happens to me because you make me leave my weapon in the parking lot. Its your butt in the sling…………..after the fact.
    Or I just do what I have been all along.
    Take me my gun and money elsewhere.

    1. avatar Charles5 says:

      Makes you leave your weapon in the parking lot? I didn’t realize the store owner had the legal authority to obligate you to come into his place of business. I learn something new every day!

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        Let’s see….maybe it goes something like this:
        – Shall not be infringed…by government, nor private individual or business
        – RTKBA….whenever and wherever I choose
        – Get government out of my face, my life, my gun rights…except when I want something I can get only through government action
        – You have no natural, human or civil right to dictate what I may wear or carry on your property
        – I got mine, and I can go anywhere I like with it, and you (whoever you are) cannot prevent me from having a gun on me, without being responsible for the criminal actions of a third party committed while I was disarmed because of your stupid ideas

        Something like that?

        1. avatar Charles5 says:

          Liberal progressive.

        2. avatar Sam I Am says:

          Sounds like it, doesn’t it. From pro-gun, pro-limited people.

  10. avatar Publius says:

    Businesses are already expected to take basic steps to ensure safety (such as no slippery floors) for customers, it’s absurd that they can’t be held accountable for customer safety after explicitly denying them the ability to defend themselves. If a business wants to ban guns, that’s their right – but they should be held accountable if there is an attack and they did not provide adequate security.

    1. avatar Charles5 says:

      Apples and oranges. The floor is my property and I am responsible if it injures someone because it is MY floor. However, a bad guy with a weapon is not MY bad guy and I will not take responsibility for something that is not mine.

    2. avatar Mark Horning says:

      This. Logical conclusion of standard liability law. Posting “no guns” creates a known and likely hazard, no different that leaving a known oil slick in the middle of the produce department for hours on end.

      1. avatar Charles5 says:

        Not even close. The hazard exists independent of the sign. The sign does not “create” a hazard.

  11. avatar Frank says:

    This sounds like a good idea, until you take a wider view and realize that all you are doing is holding one person responsible for another person’s actions.

    No different than holding a gun owner responsible when his gun is stolen and used in a crime.

    We rail against this every time that it is brought up to hold the POTG responsible, but now that the shoe is on the other foot, it is OK?

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      B
      I
      N
      G
      O
      !

      1. avatar mk10108 says:

        How does a private company determine where and when an individual rights are allowed?

        Government determined that lesbians can demand a company make a cake, if refused the State can fine it out of business.

        Perhaps government could require restaurants to have a armed area as well as an unarmed area?

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          Really?

          Private companies own or lease property to operate their business. Focus on the word private. If a company wants to block out a portion of the consuming public, fine. That company deals with the financial effect; the customer can go elsewhere. A private individual can determine who will be allowed onto their property (whether a residence or open land). I can deny your “natural, civil, human” right to free travel by refusing you permission to cross my land/property.

          It is simply amazing how many so-called freedom lovers want to use the government to force anyone to do anything. Once the slide begins, it becomes logically impossible to stop it (it can be done, but becomes evident that logic is missing, replaced by personal preference). For instance, once a society permits same-sex marriage, logic cannot be used to prohibit marriage between any consenting agents. Any restriction becomes a matter of personal preference, not logic. Same holds for the principle that government can force individuals to interact with any other individual. While I agree that forcing businesses to permit open/concealed carry of a firearm is sweet payback for decades of liberal idiocy, laws are just majority opinions; changeable at the whim of the next majority opinion. Before we abandon principles of individual freedom and limited government intrusion, we would be wise understand the penalty for underestimating the ability of leftists to subvert every good idea, and turn it back on people who respect individual liberty. For instance, you use government to force me to allow your weapon in my shop. During an attempted robbery, many of my customers are traumatized. I then sue you for loss of reputation, loss of income, loss of money due to successful law suits from traumatized customers. Do you want government to determine you, the gun owner, must carry $25million liability insurance?

    2. avatar Ralph says:

      “all you are doing is holding one person responsible for another person’s actions.”

      Please oh please look up “premises liability” and tell me that we don’t hold people liable for the actions of others every freakin’ day of the week.

      Then check your automobile liability coverage. Even if you aren’t driving, you are held liable for damages by the driver of your car.

      This is why insurance exists.

  12. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

    Ahhh……big government beating up on people who disagree with us. That’s the spirit of the Founders!

    You’re trampling over private property owners’ rights with this. Getting government, backed by thugs with guns, to impose terms on business owners that you FAILED to achieve via mutual and fraud-free negotiations with these owners is Mafia-like. Congrats, you’re a made-man.

    By the way, once you gleefully link mandatory insurance to someone’s position on firearms, expect the next step to be liberals imposing mandatory liability insurance on firearms owners and carriers. Rhe Law of Unintended Consequences stings like a sumbitch!

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      No, not private property owners.

      This bill only covers commercial enterprises that cater to the public. Since the dawn of common law, those enterprises have owed a duty of care to the people it serves.

      This bill does not require businesses to open their doors to gun owners. They can still ban guns. It does mandate that business owners who prohibit self defense are liable for damages if they do so — damages that are completely insurable.

  13. avatar Charles5 says:

    No, no, no, no. This is an extremely dangerous precedent. It is basically saying that the government can tell what you have to do with your property. Isn’t that the very thing that most 2A folks are supposedly against? I guess only when it suits them. This violates every tenet of property rights. The core of the constitution and the founding of this country is not the first amendment and it is not the the second amendment. What makes America truly special is property rights. The right to do with your stuff as you please. Nobody has a constitutional right to go onto private property or enter someone’s place of business. It’s their property and they make the rules regarding entry and conduct therein. If you don’t like their rules, nobody is forcing you to go there. This is a classic liberal tactic of foisting your views on someone else. Literally, this opens the door to all kinds of legislation to govern the use of your private property. Next, you will see bills being introduced and passed that make you liable for saying something that hurts someone’s feelings. This is not the way to fight for 2A rights.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      So let me understand. If a fire breaks out at a night club and it kills a hundred people, the owners of the club have no responsibility for damages?

      Good to know.

    2. avatar Andrew Lewis says:

      Dude what rock have you been living under?
      That ship sailed about 100 yrs ago. We haven’t had true sovereignty over private property since the advent of zoning regs, building codes, or construction permits. And if we are going to be completely accurate true private property can not coexist with the concept of eminent domain.

      1. avatar Andrew Lewis says:

        Bump to follow

  14. avatar Passerby says:

    Just wondering – what problem does this bill solve? Are there instances in Tennessee, Missouri, Wisconsin or Kansas where a private business disallowed firearms, a shooter came in and injured/killed people – and the injured parties/families were unsuccessful in suing/business owners’ insurance didn’t compensate?

  15. avatar Killjoy says:

    Ralph is correct. It’s all about the insurance. Take the Oklahoma State homecoming parade last year. Some deranged lady ran her car into the crowd. Very sad day for Oklahoma State. The very next Christmas parade they made the parade organizers pay for insurance for just such an incident.

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