Missouri representative-elect Nick Shroer is introducing a bill that would allow gun carriers to file suit against businesses that enforce gun-free zones on their property. In incidents taking place in gun-free zones – where, say, a gun owner was injured by another person or animal, and which incident could have been prevented had the gun owner been allowed to carry – the responsibility for the injury could fall on the business owner for enforcing a gun-free zone. According to the Springfield News-Leader:
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.
There are a few hoops potential plaintiffs would have to hop through, Schroer said. For instance, felons who wouldn’t be allowed to carry a firearm anyway wouldn’t be allowed to sue, and the bill includes a two-year statute of limitations.
Schroer wasn’t aware of any cases in Missouri that his bill would have affected, pointing instead to attacks including James Holmes’ rampage at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado that left 12 dead and dozens more wounded.
By making the property a gun-free zone, Schroer said, the Aurora theater “almost put a target on the back of all the customers there that had to disarm themselves.”
All it would have taken is one concealed carrier at the Aurora theater to shoot and kill the murderer James Holmes. If it hadn’t been a gun-free zone, there may have been a customer or two who had a firearm on him. In fact, if the theater hadn’t been a gun-free zone, Holmes may have not targeted it in the first place.
Gun-free zones are attractive to criminals. If this Missouri bill passes, it would hopefully deter businesses from declaring their premises ‘gun-free.’ When businesses do make that declaration, they’re only inviting trouble on themselves.
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