News & Politics

New Bill Would Allow 'Gun-Free Zone' Victims to Sue Business Owners

If you are a victim of a crime in a “gun-free zone,” a new bill from a Missouri lawmaker would allow you to sue the business that banned you from carrying a weapon for self-defense.

Rep.-elect Nick Schroer said his intent for this bill is similar to another he filed Thursday that would make it a hate crime to attack a police officer, firefighter or EMT because of their occupation. In both cases, the goal is deterrence.

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.

The left has long used the court system as a weapon against the right, suing its way to establish progressive legal precedents. Most recently, progressive anti-gun advocates backed the families in a lawsuit against gun manufacturer Remington for the Sandy Hook school shooting. The suit was dismissed because gun manufacturers are explicitly protected by law from being sued if their product is used in a crime. Do we hold Toyota liable for the damage resulting from a drunk driver behind the wheel of a Prius?

The Missouri bill would allow a suit “if the injured person could otherwise have used a gun for self-defense” since the business “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.”

Recently Levi Strauss & Co. “requested” that law-abiding gun owners not bring their guns into its stores for the safety of its customers and staff.  Schroer hopes businesses that decide to make their stores gun-free zones consider all the consequences of their decision.

“Hopefully, business owners are going to start looking at these decisions,” Schroer said, adding that he hoped to start a discussion on campus carry and ending gun-free zones.