New Legislation Likely To Get Rid Of “Gun-Free Zones”

A new bill being proposed by an incoming Republican Missouri lawmaker will allow victims of crimes in “gun-free zones” to sue a business that barred the citizen from defending themselves.

According to News-Leader, Rep.-elect Nick Schroer said the intent for his proposal, known as House Bill 96, 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.

If the injured person could otherwise have used a gun for self-defense, they could sue the business, which “assume(s) custodial responsibility for the safety and defense of any person” on their property who could carry.

Schroer said he worked with House research staff to draft the bill and was inspired by a similar law in Tennessee. The sponsor behind the bill in Missouri’s southeastern neighbor also cited the Colorado shooting as a reason to change the law.

He says the liability in his bill would make businesses reconsider their actions as it pertains to patron safety, citing as an example businesses that don’t put out “Wet Floor” signs after mopping.

“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.

If passed, the legislation will likely cause most businesses to get rid of their established “gun-free zones” since they won’t want to be held liable for possible damages.

The opening paragraph of HB 96. From mo.gov can be seen below:

  1. Any business enterprise electing to prohibit the possession of firearms or other arms by the placement of signs as authorized under section 571.107, or other provisions of chapter 571, shall assume custodial responsibility for the safety and defense of an person who is authorized to carry fire arms or other arms under chapter 571 while such person is on the premises of the business enterprise. The provisions of this section shall not apply to private property not used for commercial purposes or private residences of any type. For purposes of this section, “business enterprise” means any business that sells or provides goods or services to the general public.

Locations that are required to be Gun Free Zones by state or federal law are exempt from this bill.

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