David Gowan Arizona
Arizona State Senator David Gowan (AP Photo/Bob Christie, File)
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By Bob Christie, AP

An Arizona Senate panel on Thursday advanced a measure that would make government entities that don’t allow guns on their property liable if people are shot on their premises.

The proposal from Republican Sen. David Gowan would allow anyone to sue if they or loved ones are injured or killed after being barred from carrying weapons for self-defense on government property.

The measure is the latest in a years-long series of pro-gun measures that are routinely approved by the Republican-controlled Legislature.

Arizona is among the most gun-friendly states in the nation, allowing open or concealed carry of guns without a permit in most places. But efforts to allow weapons on property owned by schools, universities and government buildings have failed.

“It’s just a simple bill that says if a government creates gun-free zones which prohibit a law-abiding citizen from defending themselves, then if harm comes to them because of that policy that entity will be held liable for the damages,” Gowan told the Senate Judiciary Committee. “The point is, if you have a policy like this you protect them or allow them to protect themselves or there will be consequences.”

The bill was backed by guns-rights supporters and the Arizona Citizens Defense League, which lobbies for gun rights laws. Opponents include the League of Arizona Cities and Towns and a survivor of the 2011 assassination attempt on then-Rep. Gabby Giffords in Tucson that severely injured her and 11 others and left six people dead.

Patricia Maisch grabbed a loaded magazine that gunman Jared Lee Loughner dropped as he attempted to reload his pistol. She and other bystanders disarmed him.

Maisch said she was glad another armed bystander chose not to fire as others grabbed Loughner’s gun, but worried about might happen if people are allowed to bring weapons into gun-free zones.

“New York City police are 74 percent accurate on the range,” Maisch testified. “They’re less than 34 percent accurate under fire, and you want some cowboy to come in and start shooting not knowing who is shooting?”

Supporting the measure was Merissa Hamilton, a former staffer for Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio, who described herself as a domestic violence survivor who carries a gun for self-protection.

Hamilton said she had to be unarmed at work and once was accosted by a homeless person, an event that left her shaken.

“Being able to carry a gun saves my life and if government is going to prohibit that then they should have to responsible for keeping me safe,” Hamiliton said.

Gowan’s proposal was approved by the committee on a 4-3 party-line vote and now goes to the full Senate for consideration.

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    • “Finally, some common sense legislation proposed.”

      Not really. It’s just the public’s money that is in danger.

      For that to have necessary ‘teeth’, liability needs to be borne on who *personally* requested an area be designated (laughably) “gun-free”.

      If you as a public official consider it so important to disarm honest people, then your ass needs to spend 20 years in a federal penitentiary, *mandatory*.

      • Agreed…. lock em up for infringing on my rights…
        … of course it’ll NEVER happen with the system of government we’re currently experiencing…

      • “If you as a public official consider it so important to disarm honest people, then your ass needs to spend 20 years in a federal penitentiary, *mandatory*.”

        20 years to even “consider” such legislation? Whoa- that puts us in an entirely different country, like, perhaps, N. Korea, or maybe China. Thought control, right here on TTAG, perfect…

        The bill in question proposes a way for people who’s rights have ALREADY been denied to recoup some damages should they occur. Currently there are no, to few options. You think this, which could become reality, is a bad thing? Restoring one’s rights, privileges and options is always the best plan but it’s smart to do things in the interim, IMO.

  1. Time to shoot more RINOs.

    BTW, I’d like to thank AZ for Senators Flakey and McStain and the latest walking advertisement for abortion, Kyrsten Sinema.

    • No. Private property. You’re not required to visit Costco.

      Virginia GOP proposed the same law but it died in the House.

      • Standard Liability law. If you as the operator of an establishment creat a hazard, or know of, and fail to take reasonable steps to correct the hazard, you are liable.

        So, absolutely should apply to Costco as well. If they chose to crate a hazard, they are liable for the hazard. Same if it’s a broken gallon of pickles they don’t clean up.

        • “If they chose to crate a hazard, they are liable for the hazard”
          They should not be allowed to create the hazard in the first place. They are endangering people. Whether the government or private sector, they are all guilty. Well, the government is guilty for providing the option to the private sector.
          I am not okay with my wife having some silly right to sue for some pittance cash settlement if I get murdered in a gun-free victim zone. I’d prefer NOT to be a victim in the first place. But our governments do not really care. Dimocratic or republican. It is sad.

  2. “New York City police are 74 percent accurate on the range,” Maisch testified. “They’re less than 34 percent accurate under fire, and you want some cowboy to come in and start shooting not knowing who is shooting?”

    NYPD are probably not helped in their accuracy by the fact that ‘gun safety’ purposes have give them triggers that won’t fire unless you yank them by enough strength to lift a gallon of paint off the ground (with one finger) and that they get minimal range time because the city is too busy sending them to diversity training.

    • I’m not impressed by a 74% score on NYPD’s qualification test. Two years ago, I took Massad Ayoob’s MAG40 class which ended with a police style shooting test. Passing grade was 70%. Average for the class, none of whom were police officers, was 93%. Several shot 100%.

      We know how the mayor and city council would react if the NYPD commissioner proposed buying one box of practice ammunition every month for each of his officers.

      • Non-LEO civilians have significantly higher hits per rounds fired ratios than LEOs in stress situations.
        But, as the old axiom goes….”Timing is everything,” More importantly is the timing of those shots. Better to be firing before/during the bad guy’s attack than minutes after the carnage. Jack Wilson, hero in Fort Worth church shooting, took six seconds……an eternity in a shooting situation (literally an eternity for two other deacons killed by first two shotgun blasts)…. from time the shooter’s shotgun was visible (at 11 sec) to Jack’s kill shot (at 17sec) just as the shooter fired his third blast toward pastor. I’d rather have several near misses and a kill shot during event than zero LEO shots/hits minutes after bad guy is finished shooting and carnage is done.

      • Doesn’t require the first round of ammunition to practice. They should have mandatory dry fire practice every day. If you carry a gun (for any reason) and don’t dry fire it 20-30 times (1/2 hour) daily you are doing yourself and other’s a dis service.

  3. Quite pleased to read this proposal. However, the party that will pay for damages will be the taxpayers.

    Fix it so it becomes the liability of those that put GFZ’s into place.

  4. Placing the blame one someone/something other than the criminal is a bad road to go down. So is exchanging your rights for some payout (or chance thereof).

    • I don’t see this as a “blame someone” piece of legislation; but, rather a means to hold those who make decisions relative to “gun free zones” accountable and accept the liability and responsibility for damages incurred in part due to their decisions. Removing a person’s right to self protection is a serious thing and may place the blood of victims on the hands of those making certain decisions. In short, this legislation does not place “blame” but does attempt to hold accountable the entities who make decisions to limit self protection.

  5. They (the pols) should be held personally accountable for violating the civil rights of the entire population of the USA !

  6. Gun-Free Zones, regardless of where they are posted, are largely aspirational in intent. Their real intent, rather than actually keeping people from bringing guns into the space they control—which is impossible to do—is to instead make a cultural statement about the sacredness of the designated space.

    The practical reality of declaring a space sacred and “gun free” is that it is a tacit admission to potential spree killers that the space is a good place to bring a gun and start killing people. Everyone involved in placing gun-free signs on walls and in windows clearly understands that their sign will not keep armed killers out, that if said killer comes into their space numbers of innocent people are quire likely to be shot and killed. Yet, they nonetheless insist on placing the gun-free signs as a way of announcing their values to others. It is much more important to the sign-makers to signal their values to the world than it is to actually provide a level of tangible safety to the people in their “gun-free” space.

    This is the real reason behind gun-free signs. It is a particularly bloody-minded reason because gun-control advocates know that spree killers are not just killing people, they are also profaning a sacred space. And as we saw in Parkland HS in Florida, the blood hadn’t dried before the gun-controller media-machine was on scene with well rehearsed crisis actors demanding that “somebody do something”. They just waiting for the next spree killing to act.

    • Garrison Hall Thank You and I totally agree. It’s all about “look at me or look at us” and somehow a measure of glory is realized via the virtue signalling in the posted sign. Not posting any signs keeps the bad guys guessing but posting a “gun free zone” sign removes any doubt.

  7. There is one big problem with this SB 1644. The government entity is not liable to pay damages to a healthy white male aged 18-64 except if it is a terrorist attack. If it’s just some loon who is mad at the world, that isn’t considered a terrorist attack, so the average while male won’t see a dime. It’s discriminatory and unfair because it does not protect ALL people.

  8. So the value of my life in a “gun free” zone equates to X number of dollars if I am injured or killed (caveats to come most likely). How easy for our humble servants! This way no one is accountable. The government rolls the dice and plays the percentages – with your life of course.

  9. This is an outright immoral abdication of the responsibility of the government personnel to do their duty of protecting the citizen’s. It is an overthrow of the reason for the existence of a government in every case. It is an excuse to do nothing and so get held responsible for nothing. WAKE UP AMERICA….you are being hoodwinked into believing you are in a sane situation, when you are really being thrown to the wolves. THEY DON’T CARE WHAT HAPPENS TO YOU…it is only about $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

    • “It is an excuse to do nothing and so get held responsible for nothing.”
      Yep, that’s right folks. Do you think they would be making this offer if gun free zones were being shot up every week? NO. They are playing the odds and making you feel like you are getting “justice”.

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