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Thread: Gun Free Zone Liability and Civil Actions

  1. #1
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    FINALLY!!! Someone has the stones to propose that creators of Gun Free Zones should be held liable for damages committed by armed badguys.

    It was just intro'ed on 1/30 and has a respectable sponsorship from both the house and the senate.

    Enjoy!

    http://www.leg.state.co.us/CLICS/CLI...ile=115_01.pdf

    Compliments of RMGO.org's Billwatch.

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    Sounds great, although I don't like the "treble damages" clause for special groups. Equal treatment for everyone....

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    Yeah, that kinda sounds fishy. I thought we were over all that...meh, I still like the bulk of it tho, definitely a step in the right direction.

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    Regular Member Decoligny's Avatar
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    The exemption "if they provide security measures like armed security guards or metal detectors" is pure BS. So if a gigantic mall, in which thousands of people could shop, hires two "Barney Fife" rent-a-cops and each is5 minutes away settling downa french fry fight between rowdy teenagers in the food court, that's "Security"?





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    Nice. This is a good idea. You want to be a "gun-free" zone, then take responsibility for your victims. I'm actually amazed that anyone even had the balls to introduce this, but it has my full support.

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    co556guy wrote:
    Nice. This is a good idea. You want to be a "gun-free" zone, then take responsibility for your victims. I'm actually amazed that anyone even had the balls to introduce this, but it has my full support.
    It does not have mine. The owner of a gun-free location does not cause his shoppers to be murdered. The proximate cause of injury and thus primary liabilityrests squarely with the gunman. My full thoughts on this subject are here: http://opencarry.mywowbb.com/forum65/7825.html

    In short, the mall can alreadybeheld liable if someone who would otherwise have carried and thus would have been able to protect themselves or their shopping group is prevented from carrying and is shot. It's reasonable to believe someone carrying a gun would at least have a chance of preventing injury to themselves, and since the mall gave them no chance, they are liable for injury or death to the CHL especially, and possibly to others whom the CHL could have protected. This would all be done without any law forcing businesses to assume liability in this same case. With this law, anyone who COULD have protected themselves with a gun can claim damages even if they wouldn't have carried in the absence of restriction (which could be shown by interrogating their carry habits in places where guns are allowed).

    It's odd that this is a Colorado law. AFAIK, there is no provision for signage creating a gun-free zone. Businesses wishing to ban guns must ask, in person, someone who is carrying to leave before trespass applies, and the time between being asked to leave and leaving or being arrested for trespass is minimal.

    The exception is Denver, which I assume is the target of the law; the city bans handguns, so the state can force the city to assume liability for all damages related to any handgun crime in the city limits. Since the law waives sovereign immunitythe city couldn't duck it (but Colorado can't force the Feds to assume liability for injury in a federally-restricted building). But why not just pre-empt Denver city ordinance with a State lawallowing carry in all but Federally-restricted locations?


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    The reason that it has my support is because I am in college, and campus is a no-no-zone, which is dumb. There is also denver, etc. I think that while it would be great to do what you say, and pass a law pre-empting Denver's law, attacking it from a few different angles is a good idea. It also, unlike much legislation, makes sense, and specifically relates to the topic, so if someone was to create a gun-free-zone, you could print off the statute, carry it around with you, and pass it out as you saw fit to places that attempt to restrict our rights for no good reason.

    If it doesn't change anything, only makes a specific case, then what's the harm of it. At least it is aimed in the correct direction.

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    So we bitch and moan about the presence of "Gun Free Zones" and how unfair it is of the owners/property mgrs to blatantly ignore our 2A Rights,and when a bill is introduced to acknowledge that these owners should be held liable for damages because of thier ignorance, you don't support it? True, banning Gun Free Zones period is the ultimate goal, but this is one step closer to getting there. This is the first (that I'm aware of) bill that DIRECTLY addresses Gun Free Zones and the consequences of establishing one without "proper security". Granted, I'm not thrilled with the whole minority part (are we equal or not?) or the security part (settling french fry fights are a reality), but it's a start. What I'm hoping for is that the cost of armed security and/or MD'ers is too distasteful for business owners and they will relent.

    Besides, aren't we due for a "feel good" law?

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    I like it.

    A lot. I hope it passes, and I hope that other states follow CO's example.

    As to the objections mentioned here:

    Obviously the primary liability falls on the shooter. Fine. Usually the shooter ends up dead, and was broke before he died, so there's not much point in affirming the right of injured parties to sue the shooter. More importantly, the goal is to dissuade not only local governments (like Denver) from establishing victim disarmament zones, but to dissuade property owners as well. Owners of commercial property are very cognizant of liability issues, and if they aren't their insurance companies will make sure they are. This is a powerful deterrent.

    Next, yes, the victims already have the right to sue whoever established the gun-free zone. What legal precedents exist to show that such suits are likely to be successful? I think most property owners ban weapons because their lawyers advise them that doing so reduces probable liability. And those recommendations are accurate based on current jurisprudence. This law will change that in a hurry.

    As for the treble damages crap... ahh, who cares? The normal damages are adequate and if some liberal pol wants to predicate their vote for the bill on its providing some "special" protection to their favorite people, who cares? Be assured that mall owners' lawyers will be very frightened by the idea that some of the people might be get even more money. That's a good thing.

    The exemption isn't great, but I think it would be fine with a very small adjustment. It just needs to be modified so that the security measures are required to be sufficient that a reasonable person would expect them to be effective. Two rent-a-cops can not effectively protect a whole mall, particularly if no effort is made to actually enforce the weapons ban (i.e. no metal detectors).

    Finally, there's the idea that the real goal is to ban gun-free zones, and this is an inadequate stopgap. I completely disagree. Sure, CO should pre-empt county and municipal ordinances and prevent those governments from setting up gun-free zones, but that doesn't affect the right of property owners to institute their own bans. And I think it would be wrong to tell property owners that they're not allowed to ban weapons. Their property, their right. However, if they allow the public on their property but require them to be disarmed, as is their right, it should be made very clear that they are accepting the responsibility for protecting those people.

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    swillden wrote:
    I like it.

    A lot. I hope it passes, and I hope that other states follow CO's example.

    As to the objections mentioned here:

    Obviously the primary liability falls on the shooter. Fine. Usually the shooter ends up dead, and was broke before he died, so there's not much point in affirming the right of injured parties to sue the shooter. More importantly, the goal is to dissuade not only local governments (like Denver) from establishing victim disarmament zones, but to dissuade property owners as well. Owners of commercial property are very cognizant of liability issues, and if they aren't their insurance companies will make sure they are. This is a powerful deterrent.
    Not really; not to business owners. As I pointed out, Colorado has no provision for gun-free zone signage that business owners can post, and thus the only enforceable "gun-free" statute for businesses is a verbal request to leave. The creators of the posted gun-free zones in the state are government entities like the City of Denver and CU. They would be the ones liable in every case of injury due to gunfire in a gun-free zone. In that regard, it actually creates a "nanny state" situation in which the city bans guns ANDis responsible for providing forthose hurt by guns. "Don't worry, the government will take care of you if you just give up your guns".Not the messageI'd want to send as a gun rights advocate.

    Italso encourages Denver-area LEOs to crack down hard on gun carry, even legal gun carry,in an attempt to avoid a shooting that will result in the city paying money. The police will also provide de facto security to popular placesto limit liability as much as possible, increasing the cost of the force and also increasing the incidence of Terry stops on suspicion of other offenses. And, this liabilitywill increase your taxes; any tax that goes to the city, likesales tax,will have to be boosted to cover liability payouts and increased police coverage.I agree it's a first step, but in many regards it actually goes the wrong way; pre-emption would have had fewer downsides and more advantages all around.


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    You can sue them now. That law just makes it easier to win by having some liability defined in statute.

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    They could do all that work, or they could just reverse the law so that we can legally carry. Then they wouldn't have to worry about the liability.

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    Regular Member Smurfologist's Avatar
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    Evil Ernie wrote:
    FINALLY!!! Someone has the stones to propose that creators of Gun Free Zones should be held liable for damages committed by armed badguys.

    It was just intro'ed on 1/30 and has a respectable sponsorship from both the house and the senate.

    Enjoy!

    http://www.leg.state.co.us/CLICS/CLI...ile=115_01.pdf

    Compliments of RMGO.org's Billwatch.
    Other than 13-21-127 1(b), I believe it is a great bill!! Hopefully it will pass. If (when) it does, it should be forwarded to IL, WI, CA, MD, NJ, NY, Wash. D.C., and any other state that I may have left out that needs a bill passed like this one.

    2nd Amendment........Use it.........Or, lose it!!:X
    The 2nd Amendment... brought to you by Beretta and the number 1791!!

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    co556guy wrote:
    They could do all that work, or they could just reverse the law so that we can legally carry. Then they wouldn't have to worry about the liability.
    Which is the best result, I agree, but if that's what the State is after then just pass a pre-emption statute saying no law restricting carry passed by a government entity subservient to the State will beenforced in State courts.

    I'm just saying this liability clause leveled against a government entity that is empowered to levy taxes is not much of a threat, and as long as they are not outright forced to allow guns they will ban them. They'll pay the damages and then tax it back from everyone in the jurisdiction. As long as the city, county or university can do this, its only effect will be government redistribution of wealth. State pre-emption is simpler, more effective, more predictable, and far less money changes hands.

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    Liko, I agree with you 100%. I always did.

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    Liko81 wrote
    Not really; not to business owners. As I pointed out, Colorado has no provision for gun-free zone signage that business owners can post, and thus the only enforceable "gun-free" statute for businesses is a verbal request to leave.
    That's the same in Utah, and that verbal request to leave, and the policy that backs it, are what I see this law as eliminating. State pre-emption of local lawmakers is also a good idea, and is a cleaner way to address county and municipal statutes, but that doesn't address gun-free zones created by business owners. This law does and that's why I like it. I wish we had something similar in Utah (where we already have state pre-emption, and gun-free zone signage carries no legal force).

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    Bill was postponed indefinitely...bummer, good try tho. At least someones head is in the right direction.

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    It's odd that this is a Colorado law. AFAIK, there is no provision for signage creating a gun-free zone. Businesses wishing to ban guns must ask, in person, someone who is carrying to leave before trespass applies, and the time between being asked to leave and leaving or being arrested for trespass is minimal.
    Not quite.
    C.R.S. 18-12-214:
    Code:
    (5) Nothing in this part 2 shall be construed to limit, restrict, or prohibit in any manner the existing rights of a private property owner, private tenant, private employer, or private business entity.
    Also, take a look at this:
    http://www.cssa.org/portal/page.php?12

    The second question there mentions what I've heard others say before. So long as a business posts a sign, on all entrances, or otherwise has metal detectors/security at unmarked entrances, you are not allowed to carry in a private building. Pretty much, it'll be trespassing if you do so. No signs, no problem; go about your business as usual.

    You are correct, if the owner has not posted signs or installed detectors/security. Once a business owner asks you to leave, you have to leave or again be faced with trespassing.


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