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Armed and Safe is a gun rights advocacy blog, with the mission of debunking the "logic" of the enemies of the Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Liability for 'gun-free zones' coming to Arizona?

I've talked before about a legislative initiative that I think has a great deal of merit: the "gun-free zone" liability law. Under such legislation, any person, business, organization, unit of government, etc. that prohibits firearms can be held liable for harm inflicted on a person who might otherwise have used a firearm in self-defense. Here's an example (from here in Illinois, of all places) of the kind of laws to which I refer (HB 0477/SB 0044 went nowhere, of course, when they were introduced in 2005):

Synopsis As Introduced
Creates the Gun-free Zone Criminal Conduct Liability Act. Provides that any person, organization, or entity or any agency of government, including any unit of local government, that creates a gun-free zone is liable for all costs, attorney's fees, and treble damages resulting from criminal conduct that occurs against an individual in the gun-free zone, if a reasonable person would believe that possession of a firearm could have helped the individual defend against such conduct. Defines "gun-free zone". Effective immediately.
Later, I discovered that other states had introduced similar legislation--Georgia in 2003, and Arizona in both 2002 and 2003.

Now, I see that Arizona is giving it another try, with SB 1400 (here's the text), introduced by Senator Karen Johnson.

As I have mentioned before, the NRA has been, without a great deal of success, pushing for laws that prohibit businesses from banning guns on company parking lots. It seems to me that the "gun-free zone" liability type law makes a great deal more sense, and might not face the kind of opposition that the "parking lot" bills do. I'd like to see the NRA put some real muscle behind this one.

By the way, being largely unfamiliar with Arizona politics, I know very little about Senator Johnson, but I see she has also introduced a bill (SB 1214) to permit concealed carry licensees (don't get me started on the requirement for a "license" to exercise the Constitutionally guaranteed fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms--that's another, more fundamental issue) to carry defensive firearms on college campuses. She sounds like a legislator worth keeping around.

Anyone who agrees with me that SB 1400 is something the NRA should get behind--why don't you drop 'em a word, and say so?


Hyunchback said...

I have linked to this post in a post on Texas CHL's "Other States" forum.


Kurt '45superman' Hofmann said...

Thanks, Hyunch--this is something I'd really like to see move forward.

Anonymous said...

This bill might get more traction if liability protection was added. Just add some legalese to the effect that if someplace is not "gun-free" then the proprietors are explicitly not liable for damages resulting from either 1) unlawful behavior with a gun or 2) people defending themselves with guns from said unlawful behavior.

In other words, if Home Depot is not "gun-free" and my stalker catches up with me and starts shooting at me, hitting inocent bystanders, causing people to break limbs as they dive for cover etc., and I return fire, dropping said miscreant with a single shot from my . . . okay, and I return fire, hitting him a half-dozen times on the way down and hitting some innocent bystander with one or more of my misses, then Home Depot is not liable for any of the damages. Ideally neither should I be, since I was acting in self-defense, my stalker's estate should bear all the liability, but that is for another year.

The important thing is that if they are explicitly protected from liability, businesses will be happy to push for passage.

Kurt '45superman' Hofmann said...

Bruce, I agree that liability protection for "defenselessness free zones" should be part of the bill. I was thinking I had seen a version of this kind of legislation that included such a provision, but I can't find it now, so maybe it was just something I thought should be added.

jdege said...

I see it as a breach of contract.

If you put up a sign saying there are no guns in your establishment, and I am injured by someone with a gun, are you liable for the damage?

Depends. What actions did you take to ensure that there were no guns in the establishment? Did you install metal detectors? Search everyone on entrance?

You did nothing, to ensure that there were no guns present? You made the guarantee, but took no action at all to ensure it?

Sounds like negligence, to me.

Anonymous said...

Kurt, Ok. had a liability free clause in a bill to protect employers. The bill would have prevented employers from prohibiting firearms in private vehicles on their parking lots. Even though they had that protection they lobbied hard and defeated the bill.

They will not embrace it. They must be forced to it. I am not one who likes force, but when my choices are you force me to surrender a right or I force you to recognize that right, I feel my argument is the more righteous.