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Tennessee bill to allow victims to sue owners of gun free zones

The Tennessean:

If a Tennessee grocery store bans guns on its property and a black bear or wild hog kills or injures a person who otherwise would be carrying his or her gun, the gun owner would be allowed to sue the property owner if a newly introduced bill became law.


To accomplish that goal, the legislation allows any Tennessean with a valid gun permit to sue a property owner in the event of injury or death provided the incident occurred while in a gun-free zone.

Well, that would certainly motivate some anti-gun businesses. What about .gov facilities?

22 Responses to “Tennessee bill to allow victims to sue owners of gun free zones”

  1. Fred Says:

    All TN residence please sign the Constitutional Carry Petition started by Senator Mark Green, the sponsor of bill 1483.

  2. Fred Says:

    SB 1736 leaves me a little concerned. Sen. Dolores Gresham is ok, so I don’t think there is any intent on her part but nobody can be required to provide absolute safety for another. So, what then will be interpreted as “reasonable” by the courts? Metal detectors for guests and background checks for employees? The owner being armed? Armed security? East German style Stasi everywhere? All laws have unintended consequences.
    And you are absolutely right Uncle, what about TVA land and .gov buildings and grounds? What about that communist Knoxville Mayor Rogero’s office?

  3. Chris Says:

    Is death by bear or wild hog a common problem in TN? And how many folk routinely carry in a caliber that would stop an attack by either?

    Gun free zones are stupid and ineffective, but this law seems to me to run counter to the ideology that says you don’t sue gun stores and manufacturers for crime, or alcohol producers for DUI’s.

  4. JTC Says:

    Businesses are motivated by getting or losing income. If you don’t like their product, policy, or looks, don’t patronize them.

    But don’t pass a law to defend your rights by denying them theirs; that is stupid, and there are way more than enough stupid laws already.

  5. Will Says:

    This is a dumb argument that makes us looks like idiots. Never mind property rights and all, but what if you don’t kill that bear or pig, instead injure it? Now you have a whole mother problem. Maybe we should require 10mm as a minimum defensive round.

  6. Alien Says:

    …..But dont pass a law to defend your rights by denying them theirs…

    That’s not what this is; it’s acknowledgement of liability incurred through the action(s) of a property owner, something that’s been around as long as tort law, but not officially extended to the area of self defense. Read the bill – not only is there no mention of bears or hogs ( that’s our lovely media at work again) it does not deny the right of a property owner to post property against weapon possession, it stipulates that liability, in the form of compensatory damages, is the responsibility of said property owner should injury (injury=loss, however “loss” is defined) occur.

    No different than a property owner who knowingly creates a hazard – wet floor, hiring an employee prone to violence who attacks a customer, etc. It’s the reason Home Depot has the employee with the orange flags walking in front of a fork lift when the fork lift is being moved – called “hazard mitigation” – or closing an aisle while stock is being retrieved from a top shelf. If you suffered injury or death – a legally-defined “loss” – from negligent or improper use of HD’s fork lift you (or your estate) would certainly sue, this isn’t any different.

    I’ll agree with Unc – it should extend to the dot gov. (Which would be a very interesting can of worms; would that incurrence of liability extend to areas such as parole or early release (eg., Willie Horton), failure to prosecute or training and/or psychological standards for dot gov-employed gun toters?

  7. JTC Says:

    “No different than a property owner who knowingly creates a hazard ”

    Let me just call a big ol’ bullshit on that one. First off if it was no different a whole separate law wouldn’t be needed. Second it is yooooogely different because it’s the biz assuming liability not just for its own actions and employees but those of every Jose, Dequarius, Ahmed, or Bubba who walks in the door. And third, existing liability tort law has already assumed so much stupidity on the part of everybody who uses a ladder or mops a floor that biz spends TEN PERCENT of its business expenditure on preventive, mitigative, and defensive measures…and guess who pays for it?

    We are already a sue-happy lawyer-happy blame_happy pathetic excuse for a self-controlling, brain-using, common sensical society, so let’s add some more fucking laws, right? Wrong! Let’s get rid of a whole slew of the damn things, including ones that would prevent you from carrying your gun in public places and ones that would make a third party responsible if you do something stupid with it and ones that preclude a private property or business owner from setting his own damn policy in his own damn place.

  8. comatus Says:

    I must be the only one reading “black bear” and “wild hog” as euphemisms.

  9. Oleg Volk Says:

    Keeping government offices posted just makes their employees more vulnerable to attack. I doubt many non-government people are losing sleep over that. The only problem with the posting of govt. offices is that it also puts their involuntary visitors, the people of TN, in danger.

  10. wizardpc Says:

    Okay the black bear and wild hog thing doesn’t actually show up in the bill.

    “(c)The responsibility of the person or entity posting for the safety and defense of the permit holder shall extend to the conduct of other invitees, trespassers, employees of the person or entity, vicious animals, wild animals, and defensible man-made and natural hazards. ”

    This has me tickled. It’s EXACTLY what I’ve been asking for from every legislator meet. And I mean exactly, down to the part where it only applies to disarmed permit holders. I guess I finally asked enough/the right people.

  11. wizardpc Says:

    Here is the bill btw:

  12. nk Says:

    Around election time, it’s not bears or wild hogs you need to look out for. It’s the pander.

  13. Patrick Says:

    It’s just Strict Liability for those supporting gun control.

    Gun Controllers have been aiming strict liability at us for a long time (suing gun stores, manufacturers, those who had guns stolen, etc.). This is a terrific flip, and I hope it is not just proposed in order to make a point. I don’t know the politics of the state, but I hope it passes in some form.

    Like a wise man likes to say, “Punch back twice as hard.”

  14. Patrick Says:

    @JTC: I hear ya, but consider that civil immunity is already on the books for businesses that allow legal carriage on their property (WI) within state law. This just closes the loop on businesses that take affirmative measures to deny protection to persons on their property.

    Your concern about tortuous torts (ha!) are legit, especially since they target acts made by a business that are accidentally harmful. But when a business requires people on their property to disarm, hey have intentionally increased risks to patrons. It is an affirmative action that increases risk to patrons.

    A good law would provide a business immunity for the actions of others so long as the business was operating under the law, while also notifying the business that if they choose to increase the risk to their patrons they must then accept responsibility for
    that act.

    It’s not too much for the business community. If they do nothing, they are perfectly fine. But when they take active measures to increase the risk to their patrons, they own the risk they created.

  15. JTC Says:

    Patrick, do you posit that business would intentionally “take active measures to increase the risk to their patrons”? Or are they (misguidedly) taking measures to decrease that risk, and their perceived liability?

    And that’s the thing, these stupid “no gun” policies are rarely a matter of anti-ism so much as a matter of CYA on advice of *their* esq’s in response to the propensity to of *other* esq’s to sue for anything and everything. And more laws to offset the effect of other laws is not the answer, especially ones that infringe private property rights. Education is the key, and it’s working…as more and more individuals and businesses come to see that armed citizens decrease rather than increase risk to their patrons and employees, more and more will quietly drop those no-carry policies. In the meantime the correct response is to withhold your patronage and your dollars, the most powerful leverage of all.

    BTW, and I’m sure this will bring a firestorm of dissent, OC, especially as practiced by “activists”, like most activism, will retard our progress and acceptance by a decade. IMO.

  16. Publicola Says:

    Le sigh.

    This is the sort of approach that should have been taken instead of the damned “parking lot” bills. Unlike the parking lot bills this liability clarification doe snot in any way harm property Rights.

    If an employer has its employees work in a room with no windows & only one door, & said door is locked & only the employer has a key, then the employer is responsible for any harm that comes to them due to them being unable to affect their own safety. Arsonist burns the place down & they can’t get out? The employer shares culpability because he removed their ability to flee.

    Likewise if a person denies another the means of self defense, then that creates responsibility where none existed before. So this bill is the correct way to go about things. Well, except for it applying only to permit holders.

    I disagree about open carry being any sort of a hindrance to some alleged social goal. Carrying, whether openly or concealed, is a Right. If your goals are retarded by someone enjoying a Right, perhaps it’s best to re-examine your goals.

  17. nk Says:

    OC is the backup position of anti-gunners I’ve talked to. They figure if people are not allowed to carry concealed, most will not carry at all due to social pressure.

  18. Patrick Says:

    @JTC: You are absolutely right about the impetus for most businesses. I think a lot of them are concerned about liability – hence the inclusion of civil immunity for businesses when Wisconsin implemented shall-issue.

    Strict liability is often used against gun supporters, be they businesses or individuals. The Tennessee proposal shifts that to our advantage. It’s literally the case that if a TN business takes no act (other than following the law) they have no risk. If they take an act (prohibit lawful carry), they own the consequences.

    I hear the complaints about private property, except that any person engaging in public commerce already must adhere to dozens of strictures regarding the same: stairwell design, fire loading, door placement, non-discrimination, advertising limits (against fraud), etc. When you enter the public square to engage in commerce you must meet minimal standards and behaviors.

  19. Jim Says:

    There is already plenty of case law that addresses the liability of the businesses that expose the public to unreasonable risk from criminals.

    If WalMart KNOWS that the homeless folks have built an elaborate rape facility in their unlit back parking lot then WalMart is liable for any injury that occurs because of the squatters to the public.

    More importantly, if WalMart knows that their unlit, overgrown back parking lot simply tends to attract criminals then they are similarly liable.

    For what ever reason, there is little case law that applies the same sensibility to businesses that disarm their patrons.

    This law fixes that.

  20. M Gallo Says:

    In Wisconsin, there are special liability protections for NOT posting, but normal liability (whatever that means) if you do post no-weapons signs. It was supposed to make it clear to companies’ lawyers that the “risk” of allowing people to carry guns was zero, but who knows if it works better to be explicit in the law this way or the way TN is going.

  21. JTC Says:

    Gentlemen, I get it; as someone who has worked my whole adult life to promote Constitutional rights as God and the Framers intended, and nearly 40 years as a firearms dealer, I get it.

    But as a small business owner for the same amount of time, suffering under regs and requirements and laws beyond all reason, adding another law to solve a problem rather than eliminating ones that cause the problem, is anathema…especially when property rights are involved.

    I do like the way M Gallo explains that Wisconsin has handled it; waivers of liability for not limiting rights in an effort to protect from it. We have way more than enough laws, so interpretions and exemptions beat the fuck out of piling more on, until we reach the promised land where the little l principle of my freedoms not being infringed when I’m not infringing others, in His name we pray, amen.

  22. wizardpc Says:

    TN Law specifies that posting does not limit your liability in any way.

    That has not stopped companies from claiming they must post to limit their liability.

    This is a more forceful way of putting it.