Arizona Senate Bill 1664: Gun-Free Zone Liability for Anti-Gun Cities

GUN FREE ZONE

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While Arizona Democrats are busily trying to ban nearly all repeating rifles, Republicans are treading down a rather more sane path. Last week the Senate Judiciary Committee voted (on a partisan 4-3 basis) to pass Senate Bill 1664, civil liability for firearm prohibitions.

This pretty much tells you what you need to know about the bill:

NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER LAW, A GOVERNMENT ENTITY THAT ESTABLISHES A GUN-FREE ZONE IS LIABLE FOR ANY DAMAGES CLAIMED BY A PERSON WHO WAS HARMED BY CRIMINAL CONDUCT IN THE GUN-FREE ZONE IF A REASONABLE PERSON WOULD BELIEVE THAT POSSESSION OF A FIREARM COULD HAVE HELPED THE PERSON DEFEND AGAINST THE CRIMINAL CONDUCT.

There was another section that allowed a court to award triple damages in certain circumstances (terrorist attack, person harmed was disabled, a minority, or over sixty-five), but that was struck by amendment.

I can live with that. Three of those things really violate the principle of equal protection under the law. The important point here is to establish that government is responsible for their victim disarming actions. This bill does that.

Now we just need to establish that non-governmental private entities like stores, banks, and restaurants are liable for stripping safety and gun rights from the innocent customers.

comments

  1. avatar Rob Dean says:

    Great Law – the Federal and State Governments should be 100% liable for any losses/injuries related to guns being used illegally in “gun free zones” by criminals. Gun Free Zones should be banned as a matter of Constitutional Law pursuant to the 2nd Amendment. US Citizens should be allowed to carry their weapons concealed or open wherever in America they are at any time under all circumstances. No RESTRICTIONS on any law abiding citizen ever!

  2. avatar MrMax says:

    If any private or government entity regulates through prohibition your Constitutional right to bear arms, then it is logical to assume that private or government entity is providing sufficient security protections to ensure your safety.

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  4. This is good.

    Note that the Supreme court rulings saying that police have no legal liability if you are a victim of crime applies to Section 1983 suits alleging a violation of constitutional rights. None of those cases stop a state from imposing such liabilities under its own laws.

  5. All of the anti-Second Amendment bills in Arizona either have failed or will fail. Yet this bill stands a very good chance at passing, as even the lunatic left have the inherent sense of self-preservation.

  6. avatar D says:

    Wow…only two comments and the troll bots show up.

  7. avatar strych9 says:

    While I agree that this is a step forward in terms of government venues I cannot agree with the idea of enforcing it on private entities.

    You have gun rights, they have property rights. If their views and yours don’t mesh well, you both have freedom of association, so use that and disassociate.

    1. avatar MrMax says:

      strych9 – Good point that you make on property rights for private entities. As you say, if you don’t agree with their rules, then take your business or whatever elsewhere. They have freedom of choice as do we.

    2. avatar arc says:

      Its a problem with two answers.

      In one hand, people have the right to decide who or what they want on their property, in the other hand, if you are open to the public then you are open to the rights of the public.

      I personally prefer property rights. Its sickening to see private property, which is equally as important as arms ownership, getting chipped away. One could say inflicting property taxes on what you allegedly own and turning owners into tenants was the final blow but I disagree.

      1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

        “In one hand, people have the right to decide who or what they want on their property, in the other hand, if you are open to the public then you are open to the rights of the public.

        I agree with this. Private property is, well, private. But if you open a store and advertise (plead) for the public to come onto your property, and you tell them they cannot defend themselves by natural right, then by default you accept responsibility for their safety while they are on your property. It’s how I can be sued by an invited guest who’s injured by a falling tree branch or shocked by faulty wiring while plugging in their phone charger.

        1. avatar Jonathan-Houston says:

          No, it is not “by default” that they accept responsibility. It is by fiat. You’re just making up an expedient doctrine you favor and then applying it.

          Nobody is pleading with the public to engage their business with absolutely zero preconditions and no terms of service anticipated. Every offer has strings attached, even a general offer to come in and browse. “No shirt, no shoes, no service” ring a bell?

          One of those strings might be banning your firearms. Others might be that you keep the noise of your group down and not bother other guests. Is that a violation of your 1st amendment right? Another condition is that your payment be denominated in local currency, or that it not be in cash at all.

          The bottom line is that the “default” position you offer is itself just a past imposition when other do-gooders chose to stomp all over private property rights for some alleged public good. Now you come along and use that same approach, building on it even, to stomp some more. That doesn’t make it right; it just makes it, well, more, and the only reason you approve of it is because it’s in your favor. That isn’t a constitutional principle. That’s a compromise of your principles.

        2. avatar strych9 says:

          What Johnathan said.

          If I invite you to my house and you misbehave I can disinvited you. If you refuse to leave you are trespassing. What constitutes “misbehavior” is up to me because it’s my property.

          ToS are a thing. You get rowdy in a bar or restaurant and even if your actions are entirely legal the business can throw you out.

          You wanna play in someone’s sandbox you play by their rules because it’s their sandbox. If you don’t like their rules then fuck off and find another sandbox or build your own. Regardless, you don’t make the rules and pointing to other abhorrent laws on “discrimination” doesn’t make it right, it just makes us hypocritical.

        3. avatar I Haz A Question says:

          Jon & Strych9,

          Disagree. Let’s take Starbucks, for example. If you have the natural (and usually recognized) right to defend yourself, and Starbux asks you to please come onto their property while at the same time telling you to leave your implement(s) of defense off their property, then by inviting you they agree by default to accept responsibility for your safety while you’re there. You can most certainly decline to patronize the store altogether, but since they’re openly advertising for you to enter the premises, they are therefore liable if anything happens to you that you otherwise might have been able to defend yourself against, had you been armed.

          This is exactly the argument that has been taken up recently as relatives of wounded or deceased victims of shootings have brought lawsuits against stores and locales that forbade their patrons to carry guns for their own self defense.

        4. avatar hawkeye says:

          I’m not sure, Haz. As a brick-and-mortar business owner, I’m not sure I want more stuff added to my slip-and-fall insurance. Gotta be a better way than give another slice of regulatory power to the nanny state.

        5. avatar strych9 says:

          Haz:

          Do they accept that responsibility or do you temporarily forbear your prefered impliments in favor of freedom of association?

          I would argue that reason dictates you’ve done the latter.

          Starbucks made a set of rules which you knew in advance. They didnt change the rules for you specifically nor did they change the rules after you entered the establishment.

          Therefore, you knew those rules and decided of your own free will to enter the establishment because you wanted something inside that establishment more than you wanted to keep the previously mentioned implements on your person. You made this decision.

          Now, Starbucks, nor any other entity forced you to enter the Starbucks (unless you were like kidnapped and taken there or something) so your decision and your actions cannot said to be coerced. You have chosen freely and with foreknowledge of the rules.

          On top of that you are, we presume, not mentally or physically incapacitated. If you were the latter you couldn’t carry a gun and if you are the former, adjudicated or not, you shouldn’t be carrying a gun.

          This means that we have all the elements of valid consent. So I would argue that you consented to leave your burner in the car or at home when you entered the Starbucks. You were informed of the rules, capable of consent and made the decision free from duress, so where’s the ethical reasoning behind ignoring the rules imposed by a private property owner?

        6. avatar I Haz A Question says:

          strych9,

          Yes, I agree with all that you said in your comment above, and I appreciate that you took the time to make a coherent argument for it. It was well written and easy to follow.

          I believe the only point where you and I diverge is the principle of truly private property versus a private business operating in public commerce. This was encapsulated in the section of arc’s text I copied, to show that I was referring to that concept in particular. If you invite me to your home for a private event and inform me that you don’t want me to bring my gun inside, then of course I must comply and accept the fact that I’m entering your property well-informed of the situation. But if a company is operating in the public realm and inviting the public to enter for commerce, then that company must adhere to the public’s rights. These rights are not absolute, as in the famous example of a person not being allowed to yell “FIRE!” in a crowded theater when no fire is present. But if an entity asks me to enter, and at the same time tells me they’re providing a safe environment (of which the absence of guns is their preference), then they are assuming de facto responsibility while I’m present at that place of business.

        7. avatar strych9 says:

          Haz:

          This may just be a different opinion but I simply don’t see it that way provided a few things.

          1) The company is privately owned and operated. That is, it’s not a government sponsored institution (in which case I think your argument is dead on for a variety of reasons).

          2) The property containing the business is privately held. In this case it’s the owner that sets the rules IMHO, not the business. The business and the property owner have their own little legal arrangement which we call a “contract” which is, essentially law unto itself.

          If these requirements are not met then all bets are off, but if they are:

          Then I don’t think that the private transaction which takes place on private property between two private entities can or should be construed as “public”.

          For example, a private sale of a firearm. We reject the idea of a UBC. We don’t suggest that one party is responsible for the safety of another either. If someone posts an ad on Armslist for a private sale we don’t consider the seller to take on the responsibility for buyer safety at the time of the transaction do we? Generally we accept the idea that this is a private transaction. BUT, it was advertised. It is a business transaction. It takes place at a designated time and location. So why does the brick and mortar “storefront” suddenly make this a “public transaction”? I don’t see how it does. Therefore I don’t see how switching “firearm” for “coffee” makes any sense.

          Also, going back to the restaurant/bar analogy for a moment; you don’t have to break the law to be refused service or more service. Being rowdy or breaking a dress code is sufficient yet neither is a violation of law. If you refuse to leave at that point it’s trespass but that’s the point at which the law applies, and generally, if you leave when the cops show up and inform you of the potential of a trespass charge you are not considered to be breaking the law if you exit at that point. Now, if you carry on loudly outside you might get a public nuisance/intoxication or charge related to being a jackass in public but you will note that “drunk in public” doesn’t usually apply to being drunk in a bar because… the bar is private property.

          I would tend to agree with some analysis done by noted jurists back around 2000; that the previous 40 years of jurisprudence essentially gutted the notion of private property from a legal standpoint and did so because the public liked the idea. I would note, as they did, that whether or not this is “good” is in the eye of the beholder but that anyone, under any circumstances, who describes it as anything other than a “loss of liberty” is incorrect, dishonest or both.

          Finally there’s the issue of actors. You’re an actor, Starbucks is an actor and the shooter is an actor. Generally people are responsible for themselves, not others. Starbucks can be held liable for unsafe situations that are created by it’s actions when those actions do not require another actor. However, when another actor is required for the conditions to be unsafe then it’s not Starbuck liability. The shooter’s actions are required for their GFZ to matter in terms of your safety. The shooter pulls the trigger. Starbucks just sells coffee (and shitty food).

          You entered the GFZ knowingly and of your own accord. The shooter attacked of his own accord. Starbucks coerced neither. They therefore are no more responsible for harm than the gun manufacturer who made the shooters firearm. They are also a victim, ethically speaking. We wouldn’t blame them if some psycho poisoned the water coming into the building or parked a VBIED outside. In both cases we’d blame the attacker. Not Starbucks or the fertilizer maker or the pesticide maker or the car company that made the vehicle that delivered the bomb.

          Try as I might I cannot find a justification for holding Starbucks responsible for the admittedly tragic outcome of you choosing their establishment at the same time a shooter.

          None of which, of course, is to say I support Starbucks having such a policy.

        8. avatar I Haz A Question says:

          “…I don’t think that the private transaction which takes place on private property between two private entities can or should be construed as “public”.

          That describes a garage sale. An entity that is recognized and licensed by local government to operate as a business open to the public is not acting in the same capacity. This is where you and I differ.

        9. avatar strych9 says:

          “An entity that is recognized and licensed by local government to operate as a business open to the public…”

          I don’t see this as a differentiation because no one has ever managed to give me a reason why business licenses are actually thing. There’s no particular reason for them to exist other than as another way for government to extract money from the population. That being the case, I can’t see how they grant any moral authority or remove it.

          It all comes down to, IMHO, ethics/morals. There are none that dictate Starbucks is liable for the actions of others. There are morals and ethics that I’ve outline above. Therefore any law that might say Starbucks is liable, IMHO, is an illegitimate law because it lacks any moral authority for being.

        10. avatar I Haz A Question says:

          You’re correct, of course, that Starbucks (to continue using the example) isn’t generally responsible for the actions of others. However, if a company is open to the public, and advertises to entice you to enter their property for the purpose of public commerce, then you have the reasonable expectation of safety when on their premises. If another person also enters that property and commits a violent crime against me, it remains my own duty to protect myself. On this you and I surely agree.

          However, as stated before, if Starbucks tells me they designate their property as a GFZ for the purpose of maintaining a “safe” environment for their patrons, then by default they accept responsibility for my safety while I’m there. In that respect, they are then arguably liable if an event occurs that may have been prevented if customers had been allowed the full ability to defend themselves as allowed by local law. If they do not designate their store as a GFZ, then they have not declared it as an intended “safe” zone, and are arguably not liable.

          See the difference?

      2. avatar Rusty - Molon Labe - Chains says:

        The way I look at it, if you are inviting the public in then you have to accept them along with their concealed firearm. If you want to have a private club, then you can stipuate anything you wish, just like in your home.

    3. avatar Barnbwt says:

      If a private business can’t impose racial segregation, it can’t impose disarmament either.

      I would ask “what’s it gonna be, America?” but we already know the question has been asked & answered. We have long since decided that dealing with the public means you must deal with them in good faith, and that means some restrictions on how you conduct business with them.

      1. avatar UpInArms says:

        If you recall, not so long ago, there was a case where a bakery refused to do a wedding cake for a gay couple. SCOTUS ruled they were within the law to do that. That kind of threw a monkey wrench into the whole argument that a private business is a public entity.

        1. avatar Jonathan-Houston says:

          I think you’ll find that 2A supporters, for all their bluster about the Constitution, are really just as shortsighted and self-centered as anyone else, including the antis. Though they happen to be on the right side of the right to keep and bear arms, they are nowhere near above employing antis-style specious logic and outright intellectual dishonestly in pursuit of that noble goal.

        2. avatar strych9 says:

          Johnathan and I disagree about things from time to time but on this I agree with entirely.

          Some people who are gun rights advocates, and generally Conservatives, talk a big game and they happen to be right in many cases but they don’t understand why (and many don’t care why).

          Many lack basic principles, aren’t half as well educated on the topic as they claim and are more than willing to forsake what they claim to hold dear in order to achieve what they want today. Few are willing to stand up for the rights of those they don’t like or admit that people should be legally allowed to do things of which we might well disapprove. These folks are more than willing to say “What I like should be legal and what I don’t like should be illegal with the severity of the punishment being proportionate to the strength of my displeasure with the action in question”.

          In these regards such people are no different than the antis or the Left in general. But, such people do happen to be right occasionally. It would just be nice if they could reason their way out of a wet paper bag.

          Personally I don’t care for the hypocrisy but what really bothers me is the inefficiency. This people act with good intentions but still argue inappropriately which makes our overall job harder when we have to put out the fires they accidentally start. In a “soundbite world” this makes it very difficult to get the message out to the target audience because we have very limited time and we spend a lot of it dealing with bullshit deflections that the antis throw up. They know this and use it to great effect, you can see it daily on news “debates”.

        3. avatar G.W. says:

          UpInArms, I believe that the court ruled that the baker, an individual, did not have to bake the cake. A business does not have religious objections.

        4. avatar hawkeye says:

          Throwing my hat in with Jonathan and strych9 on this. Ad hominem, appeal to authority, circular arguments, pick your logical fallacy. They are present on both sides in varying degrees, and fruitful debate gets flushed. Can’t make headway with suicidal anarchists regardless of the flag they fly.

    4. avatar Chris T in KY says:

      I’m still waiting for the Libertarians Liberals and the Left, to write lengthy opinion pieces on a why it’s wrong for private individuals to sue others because they didnt provide armed security when their loved ones were murdered on the premises.

      These kinds of lawsuits happen all the time. These lawsuits happen, even when the person dies by accident inside of a business.

    5. avatar Anymouse says:

      Making private property owners liable doesn’t force a behavior. They make their choices and accept their risks. Some people claim that insurance liability is the reason they don’t allow guns. Perhaps a two-part bill that says no liability for gun use by patrons or employees (criminal or otherwise), except liable for damages that might have been prevented had they not banned guns and misuse by employees paid to be armed? They can still put principles over profit, like Chick-fil-a and Hobby Lobby. We already limit what rights public accommodations may violate (discrimination for handicaps, race, religion, gender).

    6. avatar Kendahl says:

      It’s settled law that a privately owned business open to the public must meet building codes. It won’t work for the owner to post a sign, “The fire marshal has determined that these premises do not meet fire safety codes. Enter at your own risk. Owners are not responsible for injuries sustained in a fire.” It’s not much of a stretch to apply the same argument to armed customers.

      1. avatar hawkeye says:

        Interesting point. In many jurisdictions, restaurants are required to post notices regarding food safety/health code violations and/or relative ratings. You gonna take your family to eat at a place that got a “D” from the local sanitarian last time through?

        1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

          Those inspection results are public knowledge, and in my little shit city, the newspaper takes delight in reporting them, including the lurid details, like living or dead rodents, where their droppings were found, and the same for roaches…

  8. avatar Robster says:

    AZ has recently overstepped our Constitutional rights. Virginia, now Arizona. Read below. It’s a horrible bill voted in by Az Democrats in Feb.2020.

    How do we stand up for our rights when partisan state Senate’s vote our rights down the toilet?

    https://legiscan.com/AZ/text/SB1625/id/2119093?fbclid=IwAR1I8egy7DuPQXpdVqPw3ir23uBfg27STHsEY5e-Ecf6jIZZaSim4Bo-pAY

    1. avatar Rusty - Molon Labe - Chains says:

      AZ has not yet. Democrats have, do, will. Just because some worthless leftist, socialist, communist that was elected submits a bill doesn’t mean it will go anywhere. You do need to pay attention, but unlike Congress which always stands ready to damage the Constitution, your state legislature can only stab you in the back when they are in session.

  9. avatar Ron Beason says:

    Reading comprehension is a valuable skill. Note :
    Status: (Introduced) 2020-02-06 – Senate read second time 
    Just because some idiot Demonrat introduces a bill, and it is “read” twice, does not make it law!

  10. avatar Jonathan-Houston says:

    I would vote for this bill if it also included mandatory liability insurance coverage for all firearms owners; not just those in public. Want to exercise your right? Fine. Prove that you can compensate others for your negligence. Let’s hoist arrogant gun owners on their own petard.

    Ideally, such a provision would only serve to torpedo this entire disgrace of a bill, not to become law. Share the unconstitutional misery and perhaps people will come to their senses and set aside their phony outrage, rather than impose this imposition of liability monstrosity on society. It’s bad on principle and even worse on practicality.

    Grow up and dispense with both feel good AND gotcha legislation. They’re both a product of ancient emotional and inadequate brain structures, not of reason.

    1. avatar G.W. says:

      Jonathan-Houston-take a hike Troll.

    2. avatar I Haz A Question says:

      Really, Jonathon? You’re okay with imposing mandatory insurance on a natural right? Does that logic extend to any natural right? Expression of worship, free speech, traveling, eating, breathing? Unless you just forgot to end with the [/sarc]…

    3. avatar JD says:

      Prove that liability insurance for negligence is necessary. Given the right to bear arms has been enumerated for 229 years, there is no problem.

      Do you work in the insurance biz? Because this would just be free money for them.

  11. avatar 4VFK20629 says:

    Any business that has incorporated in any way, “Corporation”, “LLC”, etc. owes its corporate charter to the US Federal Government. Thus, they can also be classified as Federal in nature and also fall under this law. Even if under a corporate charter by the “State of Arizona”, a federally charted corporation which owes its existence to the Federal Government also. Thus any corporation under the “State of Arizona” also falls under this Law by default.

    Non-incorporated businesses are not subject to federal or state Law as they do not owe their existence under any corporate charter or any other Legally defined non-living entity.

  12. avatar Otis says:

    You dipshits hijacked the original thread pertaining to the bill.

    This pretty much tells you what you need to know about the bill:

    NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER LAW, A GOVERNMENT ENTITY THAT ESTABLISHES A GUN-FREE ZONE IS LIABLE FOR ANY DAMAGES CLAIMED BY A PERSON WHO WAS HARMED BY CRIMINAL CONDUCT IN THE GUN-FREE ZONE IF A REASONABLE PERSON WOULD BELIEVE THAT POSSESSION OF A FIREARM COULD HAVE HELPED THE PERSON DEFEND AGAINST THE CRIMINAL CONDUCT.

  13. avatar frank speak says:

    just eliminate any penalties for disregarding their restrictions…if they discover you’re armed and then ask you to leave…fine….but that’s as far as it should go…..

  14. avatar Top says:

    Now, to get such a law passed in Florida!!

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