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Thread: Corporate Liability

  1. #1
    Regular Member SFCRetired's Avatar
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    Corporate Liability

    Disclaimer: I don't know if this is the right place for this. If not, mods, please move. Also IANAL and don't play one on television.

    I got to thinking about this horrible tragedy in Colorado and wondering whether or not a corporation that removes its patrons' ability to defend themselves could be successfully sued.

    Has anyone ever filed a successful suit on the grounds of failure to maintain a safe environment against one of these corporations that maintain defense-free zones? Would this be in the nature of a wrongful death/injury suit?

    Could a federal suit be filed on the basis of denial of a civil right causing injury?

    As I said, I am not a lawyer and I really would love to know the answers to these questions. It is my understanding that at least one person is threatening to sue the corporation that owns the theater where this event occurred. I haven't heard what the basis of the suit is, though.
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    Regular Member David White's Avatar
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    It looks like someone is going to sue!


    http://m.tmz.com/article_head.ftl?id...suit-shooting/

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    Quote Originally Posted by David White View Post
    It looks like someone is going to sue!


    http://m.tmz.com/article_head.ftl?id...suit-shooting/
    Unfortunately, it appears to be all for ambulance-chaser reasons.

    I think there IS a case for not providing a safe environment, whilst denying the right of self defense.

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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Wisconsin is the only state I am aware of (and that's not saying a whole lot) where liability attaches for injury suffered where the means of self-protection is restricted by a private entity. They included it in their CC-enabling legislation. Some folks are apparently beginning to sweat bullets over their having posted their property.

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    Regular Member OC for ME's Avatar
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    Anyone is liable for anything given the 'right lawyer' and the 'correct' jury.

    We have a criminal jury system which is superior to any in the world; and its efficiency is only marred by the difficulty of finding twelve men every day who don't know anything and can't read. - Mark Twain
    "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." - Thomas Jefferson.

    "Better that ten guilty persons escape, than that one innocent suffer" - English jurist William Blackstone.
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    Regular Member carolina guy's Avatar
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    Just thinking "aloud"...

    If a business is not responsible for the actions of a "deranged" or "criminal" member of the public while on their property...how are they somehow liable/responsible if a LAC has a firearm and an innocent 3rd party gets injured/killed?

    It would seem to me that if they feel that they "need" a "policy" that shows they do no allow dangerous weapons to shield them from liability...couldn't that be turned around against them if they do not do something substantial to protect those same people?

    I feel that private property owners should be able to decide for themselves if firearms are allowed or not...but a business that is open to the public or as a public accommodation I think should not be as free to restrict the general public as a private club or home owner.
    If something is wrong for ONE person to do to another, it is still wrong if a BILLION people do it.

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    Regular Member Redbaron007's Avatar
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    For a civil matter, the state may have some extra or less demands on what that person is considered to be: invitee, licensee or trespasser. But here is a general understanding of what the movie goers could be defined as.

    Plus, what is the gunman considered; invitee, licensee or trespasser?

    IMHO, What it is going to boil down to, did the movie theater provide the necessary security/warning of a known hazard, emphasis on 'known'. The question is going to be; did the movie theater have a reasonable understanding to believe this was going to happen and if so, did they perform the necessary responsibilities to prevent it from occurring. The theater is going to argue there was no way of knowing when or if something of this magnitude was to occur, so they can not be held accountable for the actions of another that they were not privy to.

    This is just a small tip of what the iceberg could be like.

    These cases will be interesting to follow. Will the egregiousness of the event come into play in determining the liability? Very good question....time will tell.

    OBTW...IANAL
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    Regular Member Redbaron007's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OC for ME View Post
    Anyone is liable for anything given the 'right lawyer' and the 'correct' jury.
    Not so far from the truth.

    JFYI, Those filing suit for damages are filing under the civil (tort) law, not criminal. The criminal law is convicting James Holmes of murder.
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    Something about 'indicting a ham sandwich' comes to mind.
    "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." - Thomas Jefferson.

    "Better that ten guilty persons escape, than that one innocent suffer" - English jurist William Blackstone.
    It is AFAIK original to me. Compromise is failure on the installment plan, particularly when dealing with so intractable an opponent as ignorance. - Nightmare

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    Regular Member DocWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redbaron007 View Post
    For a civil matter, the state may have some extra or less demands on what that person is considered to be: invitee, licensee or trespasser. But here is a general understanding of what the movie goers could be defined as.

    Plus, what is the gunman considered; invitee, licensee or trespasser?

    IMHO, What it is going to boil down to, did the movie theater provide the necessary security/warning of a known hazard, emphasis on 'known'. The question is going to be; did the movie theater have a reasonable understanding to believe this was going to happen and if so, did they perform the necessary responsibilities to prevent it from occurring. The theater is going to argue there was no way of knowing when or if something of this magnitude was to occur, so they can not be held accountable for the actions of another that they were not privy to.

    This is just a small tip of what the iceberg could be like.

    These cases will be interesting to follow. Will the egregiousness of the event come into play in determining the liability? Very good question....time will tell.

    OBTW...IANAL
    And my argument would be "well if there was no way to know of this type of treat, then why restrict the capability of an individual to protect himself and his family"? By denying my clients right to defend themselves you as a company took the responsiablity away from him and placed it in your own hands. Your company has all the liability in this situation. A meteor, fire, or other incident that couldn't have been stopped with my clients 2A rights (If you would have let him excercise them) couldn't have been prevented or minimized but this senario might have minimized and the outcome of this event might have ended with less loss of life. YOUR RULES KILLED INNOCENT PEOPLE.....SIMPLE AS THAT.

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    Regular Member Redbaron007's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DocWalker View Post
    And my argument would be "well if there was no way to know of this type of treat, then why restrict the capability of an individual to protect himself and his family"? By denying my clients right to defend themselves you as a company took the responsiablity away from him and placed it in your own hands. Your company has all the liability in this situation. A meteor, fire, or other incident that couldn't have been stopped with my clients 2A rights (If you would have let him excercise them) couldn't have been prevented or minimized but this senario might have minimized and the outcome of this event might have ended with less loss of life. YOUR RULES KILLED INNOCENT PEOPLE.....SIMPLE AS THAT.
    You make my case....there was no way to know...so I (the corporation) wouldn't have a responsibility/duty to protect against it. I'm (the corporation) not restricting your right to protect yourself, I just choose to not allow firearms on my property. I can also tell you not to wear pink shirts on my property too; then if you do wear one, have you removed after asking you to leave when you don't...You knew before entering I don't allow firearms on my property, but you still chose to come in.

    As for the prohibition of firearms that killed innocent people is sensationalism at it's best. There is NO evidence, only a theory that cannot be proven, that if someone was carrying, it would have prevented any or all deaths. What is proven is a diabolical mind strategically planned and implemented an event to murder many many innocent people.

    Bottom line, does the theater have a duty to protect a licensee/invitee from something as unforeseen as this? Prolly not, from a civil tort matter. However, there is definitely an emotional argument. Where it will land is still to come. To keep from making bad case law, it is foreseeable to bet, many cases will be settle out of court.

    I'm playing devils advocate above. It does not necessarily reflect my true thoughts. OBTW, IANAL.
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    Campaign Veteran since9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redbaron007 View Post
    For a civil matter, the state may have some extra or less demands on what that person is considered to be: invitee, licensee or trespasser. But here is a general understanding of what the movie goers could be defined as.

    Plus, what is the gunman considered; invitee, licensee or trespasser?
    As per your link: "An invitee is only an invitee within the scope of permission granted by the landowner." I doubt blowing away customers (business invitees) is within the scope of permission...

    IMHO, What it is going to boil down to, did the movie theater provide the necessary security/warning of a known hazard, emphasis on 'known'. The question is going to be; did the movie theater have a reasonable understanding to believe this was going to happen...
    In light of thirty years of history, I don't see how they can deny it. Under the reasonable man concept, it's illogical to assume "this will never happen here."

    ...and if so, did they perform the necessary responsibilities to prevent it from occurring. The theater is going to argue there was no way of knowing when or if something of this magnitude was to occur, so they can not be held accountable for the actions of another that they were not privy to.
    I think it should also be argued that under the reasonable man concept, a quick security check of doors between shows is in order.

    What I'd really like to see argued is how any business who denies entry to lawfully-armed citizens but fails to provide their own security is liable for the safety and security of those individuals.
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    Regular Member DocWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redbaron007 View Post
    I'm (the corporation) not restricting your right to protect yourself, I just choose to not allow firearms on my property.
    So you are not restricting me from protect myself but won't allow me to LEGALLY carry my firearm. How do you suppose I protect myself against this threat, throw popcorn?

    You can't say you are allowing me to protect myself but then take away the only means to do it.

    You are taking the responsability of protecting me by disarming me.

    You said you couldn't have guessed this would have happened but you made no effort as a corp. to prevent or stop it from happening. Did you hire armed security? Did you put alarms on the exit doors so nobody could come in? No but you did make dam sure I couldn't defend myself. Your policy enabled this to happen, your company has taken 100% of the responsiablility away from me and placed it with you for my safety.

    Reasons your company made this event happen.

    a. To cheap to hire security.
    b. To cheap to alarm the doors.
    c. Your own views on what rights American should have.

    The only reason this event was able to happen boils down to your greed (profits) and personal views. Your company is responsiable even if you haven't forseen this event. Your policies gave it a place and atmospher for it to happen.

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    Regular Member carolina guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redbaron007 View Post
    You make my case....there was no way to know...so I (the corporation) wouldn't have a responsibility/duty to protect against it. I'm (the corporation) not restricting your right to protect yourself, I just choose to not allow firearms on my property. I can also tell you not to wear pink shirts on my property too; then if you do wear one, have you removed after asking you to leave when you don't...You knew before entering I don't allow firearms on my property, but you still chose to come in.

    As for the prohibition of firearms that killed innocent people is sensationalism at it's best. There is NO evidence, only a theory that cannot be proven, that if someone was carrying, it would have prevented any or all deaths. What is proven is a diabolical mind strategically planned and implemented an event to murder many many innocent people.

    Bottom line, does the theater have a duty to protect a licensee/invitee from something as unforeseen as this? Prolly not, from a civil tort matter. However, there is definitely an emotional argument. Where it will land is still to come. To keep from making bad case law, it is foreseeable to bet, many cases will be settle out of court.

    I'm playing devils advocate above. It does not necessarily reflect my true thoughts. OBTW, IANAL.
    You mention that there is no evidence that had the customers had the opportunity to carry, it would have prevented some or all of the deaths...and I believe that may be true.

    However, I am not sure if my ramblings are relevant...or even how someone would work them into a case...but isn't a counter to that to ask for the evidence that restricting LAWFULLY carried firearms actually reduces the instances of illegal firearms related violence (ie. not lawful self-defense).

    Since almost all of the available data points to the OC and CC population having a significantly lower instance of illegal firearms violence, I think that the case might be able to made that the theater might be inviting a more dangerous crowd, thus increasing the likelihood that a LAC could be subjected to illegal violence.

    Just my $0.02...IANAL
    Last edited by carolina guy; 07-31-2012 at 05:02 PM.
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    Regular Member Redbaron007's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DocWalker View Post
    So you are not restricting me from protect myself but won't allow me to LEGALLY carry my firearm. How do you suppose I protect myself against this threat, throw popcorn? Is protecting yourself with a firearm the only viable way to do so? No. other options are...Knife, hand to hand, if throwing popcorn works, then yep, etc.

    You can't say you are allowing me to protect myself but then take away the only means to do it. See comments above...it's not the only way to protect...just an option.

    You are taking the responsability of protecting me by disarming me. Nope, you are entering my premises with knowledge that carrying a firearm is not allowed....doesn't say you can't protect yourself, just not with a firearm.

    You said you couldn't have guessed this would have happened but you made no effort as a corp. to prevent or stop it from happening. I don't have to do anything to prevent something I didn't know was a reasonable threat.

    Did you hire armed security? Good question...I don't know if they had security there, but even if I did, would they have been trained to handle a devious individual's plot, prolly not...again not a reasonable threat. I don't have a duty to protect your from everything/anything, just those that are reasonable.

    Did you put alarms on the exit doors so nobody could come in. As for the theater, don't know. What does this have to do with it? Rumor is he used one, but the alarm did not go off. Most city codes now demand these, so my guess is they were there and potentially disarmed. I have not read anything that states these went of.

    No but you did make dam sure I couldn't defend myself. Your policy enabled this to happen, your company has taken 100% of the responsiablility away from me and placed it with you for my safety. My company did no such thing; we did not assume the risk of protecting your from a gunman when there is no reasonable threat to do so. No offense, but no one prevented you from protecting yourself. In fact, if you were an individual that needed to use a firearm for protection and knew the law (because you had a CCW) and knew the premises was posted NO Firearms; I could argue you knew this and should have taken an extra precaution to use other legal viable means to protect you and your family or not remained on the premises. You chose to come on my property with this knowledge.

    Reasons your company made this event happen.

    a. To cheap to hire security. It is unknown if there were any there.
    b. To cheap to alarm the doors. Again, not confirmed or denied; or disarmed by the devious mindless person.
    c. Your own views on what rights American should have. Who's rights are greater, the property owners or the carrier? As it stands right now, most courts say the property owners trumps the licensee/invitee. In this case you would be one or the other.

    You argument that my company 'made' this happen is at best, as stated before, sensationalism at it's best. Accusing the theater for making this happen insinuates the theater had foreknowledge, a hand in allowing this person to do to this...saying they had knowledge it was going to occur is criminal. There is nothing that states this, in fact, everything states the opposite.


    The only reason this event was able to happen boils down to your greed (profits) and personal views. Your company is responsiable even if you haven't forseen this event. Your policies gave it a place and atmospher for it to happens. Good luck at proving that. It's a business's duty to make a profit, if not, well, I'll let you think that one out.
    See my remarks (the potential company's arguments) in blue.

    Great discussion.

    Disclosure...IANAL.
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    Regular Member DocWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redbaron007 View Post
    See my remarks (the potential company's arguments) in blue.

    Great discussion.

    Disclosure...IANAL.
    Ok I would love to see you go up against a 12 gauge or AR-15 with your fists hell it would be just as entertaining to watch you do it with a knife. Good Luck with that.

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    Regular Member Redbaron007's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carolina guy View Post
    You mention that there is no evidence that had the customers had the opportunity to carry, it would have prevented some or all of the deaths...and I believe that may be true.

    However, I am not sure if it is relevant...or even how someone would work it into a case...but isn't a counter to that to ask for the evidence that restricting LAWFULLY carried firearms actually reduces the instances of illegal firearms related violence (ie. not lawful self-defense). ​You are corerct, it may or may not be relevant. My guess is it won't be admissible. Again, the evident is subjective at best and is not factual, only theoretical at best.

    Since almost all of the available data points to the OC and CC population having a significantly lower instance of illegal firearms violence, I think that the case might be able to made that the theater might be inviting a more dangerous crowd, thus increasing the likelihood that a LAC could be subjected to illegal violence. That could be true....the gunfree zones have a tendency to have situations like this. But the kicker is; does the owner/business have the duty to protect you from this extreme circumstance? They do have reasonable duties while a licensee/invitee is on the property; however, to this level, that's what will need to be determined.

    Just my $0.02...IANAL
    Let me throw this out for thought......

    Since this business is so close to a prior mass murdering, does the business owner have a greater knowledge of this event and do they have to elevate their responsibility because of this knowledge?
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    Regular Member Redbaron007's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DocWalker View Post
    Ok I would love to see you go up against a 12 gauge or AR-15 with your fists hell it would be just as entertaining to watch you do it with a knife. Good Luck with that.
    Don't take it personal...I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you...but providing fodder from a corporate/legal fight. I have no idea how this will play out....however, I am very interested in seeing the fight in court.

    I'm not sure how well I would do from in a fist to AR-15 combat situation.
    Last edited by Redbaron007; 07-31-2012 at 05:11 PM.
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    Regular Member carolina guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redbaron007 View Post
    Let me throw this out for thought......

    Since this business is so close to a prior mass murdering, does the business owner have a greater knowledge of this event and do they have to elevate their responsibility because of this knowledge?
    Let's take this a little further...what is the rational basis for the theater's no gun policy? Given all the instances of public and workplace violence in recent decades, what is the evidence for restricting gun that the theater used when they formulated their policy? How often do they review their safety policies in light of contemporary events (violence, theft, fire, etc.)?

    Personally, I think that would be the route to get something like that in court...
    Last edited by carolina guy; 07-31-2012 at 05:12 PM.
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    Regular Member Redbaron007's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carolina guy View Post
    Let's take this a little further...what is the rational basis for the theater's no gun policy? Given all the instances of public and workplace violence in recent decades, what is the evidence for restricting gun that the theater used when they formulated their policy? How often do they review their safety policies in light of contemporary events (violence, theft, fire, etc.)?

    Personally, I think that would be the route to get something like that in court...
    Good question....but I would say they don't have to have a rational basis...it's their property...they can control a lot, including what can be worn on the property. They can ban clothes if they wanted too...however, if the local ordinances say otherwise, then they are in trouble.
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    Regular Member DocWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redbaron007 View Post
    See my remarks (the potential company's arguments) in blue.

    Great discussion.

    Disclosure...IANAL.
    Your whole argument is that a gunman shooting up a theater, school, post office or a political rally is something that couldn't happen and the very thought of it happening makes it so we don't have to think about it. I submit that I could give you atleast 12 major incidents in the USA every year, atleast one per month of someone killing strangers while going about their day.

    Why wear a seatbelt? I don't expect or plan to get into an accident. If you get into my car and I don't allow you to use the seatbelt and I get into an accident injuring you then you have a right to hold me accountable as the car owner and driver.

    If I as a property owner prevent you from wearing shoes and you step on a rust nail in my yard then my insurance will end up paying; why because I'm responsible for my property and the safety of those that I have on it. The theater is no different they are responsiable for my safety, expecially when they prevent me from securing my own safety within the law all for politics and money.

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    Regular Member Redbaron007's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DocWalker View Post
    Your whole argument is that a gunman shooting up a theater, school, post office or a political rally is something that couldn't happen and the very thought of it happening makes it so we don't have to think about it. I submit that I could give you atleast 12 major incidents in the USA every year, atleast one per month of someone killing strangers while going about their day. You have to submit those circumstances of a lone gunman, with multilple weapons, shooting up a theater. Violence is one thing, a mass murdering such as this, is a different fellow. If the judge allowed it in, I don't think he would since it would have any correlation, unless you did provide circumstances of similar happenings.

    Why wear a seatbelt? I don't expect or plan to get into an accident. If you get into my car and I don't allow you to use the seatbelt and I get into an accident injuring you then you have a right to hold me accountable as the car owner and driver. No comparison.....not even a good straw argument.

    If I as a property owner prevent you from wearing shoes and you step on a rust nail in my yard then my insurance will end up paying; why because I'm responsible for my property and the safety of those that I have on it. The theater is no different they are responsiable for my safety, expecially when they prevent me from securing my own safety within the law all for politics and money. Just because someone is on your property doesn't make you responsible for them. This is a common misconception. However, if you had knowledge there could be rusty nails (you just tore down an old barn and had not thoroughly cleaned everything up) on the property, then you may have some liability. Trust me, your insurance company would be thinking along these same lines before making any payment.
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    Regular Member carolina guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DocWalker View Post
    Your whole argument is that a gunman shooting up a theater, school, post office or a political rally is something that couldn't happen and the very thought of it happening makes it so we don't have to think about it. I submit that I could give you atleast 12 major incidents in the USA every year, atleast one per month of someone killing strangers while going about their day.

    Why wear a seatbelt? I don't expect or plan to get into an accident. If you get into my car and I don't allow you to use the seatbelt and I get into an accident injuring you then you have a right to hold me accountable as the car owner and driver.

    If I as a property owner prevent you from wearing shoes and you step on a rust nail in my yard then my insurance will end up paying; why because I'm responsible for my property and the safety of those that I have on it. The theater is no different they are responsiable for my safety, expecially when they prevent me from securing my own safety within the law all for politics and money.
    Wonder how hard it would be to dig up some stats:

    % likelihood of being in an accident per (vehicle mile traveled or per vehicle or per person) and does it increase/decrease with seat belt use?

    % likelihood of a business being involved in violence armed v. unarmed per (customer served or per year) with or without a gun free policy?
    If something is wrong for ONE person to do to another, it is still wrong if a BILLION people do it.

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    Regular Member DocWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carolina guy View Post
    Wonder how hard it would be to dig up some stats:

    % likelihood of being in an accident per (vehicle mile traveled or per vehicle or per person) and does it increase/decrease with seat belt use?

    % likelihood of a business being involved in violence armed v. unarmed per (customer served or per year) with or without a gun free policy?
    I guess I being involved with one of these incidents I'm a little more sensitive. I worked in a hospital when a gunman walked through the hospital killing people, guess what nobody could fight back all though one guy started chasing after the gunman with a scalple. I followed him thinking I would be safe.

    Noobody could have guessed this would happen but it did in a hospital at Fairchild AFB, WA in 1994 and I lost a lot of friends that day.

    Just because it isn't forseen doesn't take away someones responsiability.

    If your pistol goes off and hurts someone even while on safe and holstered, I'm sure you still would be held accountable. You might go after the gun manifacture but the cops and the person that got hurt would go after you.

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    Regular Member Redbaron007's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carolina guy View Post
    Wonder how hard it would be to dig up some stats:

    % likelihood of being in an accident per (vehicle mile traveled or per vehicle or per person) and does it increase/decrease with seat belt use?

    % likelihood of a business being involved in violence armed v. unarmed per (customer served or per year) with or without a gun free policy?
    At best it would be a theory. Convincing a judge to allow it as credible evidence is another question.
    "I can live for two weeks on a good compliment."
    ~Mark Twain

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