‘Gun-free zone liability’ laws–not as new or unusual an idea as I had thought

A couple weeks ago, I wrote about a gun law I could actually support (and with enthusiasm)–HB477/SB044, the “Gun-Free Zone Criminal Conduct Liability Act”–introduced, oddly enough, here in Illinois, a state held hostage by the notoriously anti-rights/anti-defense Chicago area. Predictably, the bills went absolutely nowhere.

In that previous blog post, I suggested that such legislation be introduced in states in which the fundamental right of self-defense is actually given some respect. As it happens, if I had checked with GunLaws.com, I would have discovered that such bills have been introduced in states in which there is real respect for gun rights. Arizona had such a bill introduced in 2002, and again in 2003. A similar bill was also introduced in Georgia in 2003.

None of these efforts bore fruit, obviously, but I have to wonder how serious an effort was made to push them through. As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, the NRA has, in the past couple years, spent considerable political capital (in Georgia and Florida–perhaps others) on bills that would prevent property owners from prohibiting guns on their property–and has little to show for it. Frankly, although I might be considered something of an “extremist,” even by other gun rights activists, I would have trouble getting behind those NRA-backed bills. In the end, I believe that property owners have the right to set the rules on their property.

A “Gun-free Zone Liability” type law, however, respects that property right, but simply puts the onus of defending people from violence on the property owner who would deny them an effective means to defend themselves. Individual rights and personal responsibility–
libertarianism at its best.

So let Westroads Mall post “No Guns” signs (after taking them down, after such signs helped facilitate a massacre)–that is the right of mall management/ownership. However, the next time those signs allow a psychopath to massacre innocent shoppers without resistance, mall management/ownership should help bear the cost. That is their responsibility.

I think the NRA should make such legislation a major priority. If you agree, give ’em a holler.

UPDATE: Apparently, the NRA’s web contact form (the link to which is posted above) has not been functioning correctly, and is now disabled. The preferred way to contact the NRA on matters such as this is by emailing them at this address: ila-contact@nrahq.org.

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4 Responses to “‘Gun-free zone liability’ laws–not as new or unusual an idea as I had thought”

  1. straightarrow Says:

    here is what I replied on WOG on this subject. The last sentence is an addition that did not appear in the original **********************************

    Kent is right on this. David and I have argued this point forever,and it is one of the few issues I can state unequivocally he is wrong on.

    You cannot rape, murder, rob, just because it is your property and you have the right to set the rules. Neither do you have the right to strip others of their rights just because they accepted an invitation to visit your property.

    You do have a responsibilty to prevent harm that is a direct result of a visit to your property if you knew or should have known that harm could result.

    When you do something or post rules that make harm to visitors inevitable, or even likely, you are liable. Depending on the harm there are provision for both criminal and civil actions against the property owner, why would this be any different?

    It is not! It is treated differently only because of the the power structure’s fear of armed citizens. Anything that deters an armed citizenry works only in favor of those who would harm you.

    This hasn’t got a damn thing to do with property rights, it is a matter of civil rights.

    A property owner has the right to not invite you. He does not have the right to invite then deny you those civil rights.

    When you invite me, you invite all of me, rights and all.

  2. 45superman Says:

    When you invite me, you invite all of me, rights and all.

    I’m with you there, but I guess I look at it as being a case in which you are not invited to a “gun-free zone,” if you insist on exercising the right to be armed.

    The biggest problem I have with the Nebraska situation is that the “no guns” policy carries the force of law. In addition to the “gun-free zone liability” type law, the law needs to be changed in such a way that disobeying the policy constitutes grounds only to ask the violator to leave, with the charge only being trespassing if he refuses to do so.

  3. straightarrow Says:

    Since the force of law is behind the mall’s policy, should not the remedies of the law be applied to them by those or their survivors who were harmed?

    I can’t see where there is a need for a new law among honest men. However, this issue will end up in court and there aren’t many honest men to be found working there,e.g. Jimm Larry Hendren.

  4. 45superman Says:

    Since the force of law is behind the mall’s policy, should not the remedies of the law be applied to them by those or their survivors who were harmed?

    I definitely believed that they should, and while I agree with you that it shouldn’t take another law to ensure that happening, it seems clear that another law will be required, because (as you point out) we cannot count on honor and honesty, even among those whom we are expected to address as “Your Honor.”

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