Business with ‘gun-free zone’ signs may be tagged with legal liability

A Mississippi shooting Friday night illustrates perfectly not only the ineffectiveness of “gun-free” zones, but also the fact that the posting on “no firearms allowed” signs can put a storeowner in legal jeopardy.

A man was shot outside a Jackson, Miss., convenience store where the proprietor had posted a “no firearms allowed” sign.

The unidentified victim was shot in the leg during an altercation in which multiple shots were fired. He was later taken to the hospital in an ambulance where he was treated, according to MSNewsNow.

David Butts, a Tupelo, Miss. attorney, noted the incident on the Firearm Freedom Day Facebook page and added his own personal observations:

A report of a shooting outside a convenience store in Jackson today, which had a “no firearms” sign posted at the entrance, brings to mind one obvious observation and one not so obvious question. First, it is obvious that criminals have no regard whatsoever for “no firearms” signs and that, in fact, the presence of such a sign may even encourage a criminal to enter a business to commit a criminal act (robbery, etc.) since, presumably, no one (except possibly the business owner) would have a firearm.

The not-so-obvious question is “what is the responsibility of the business owner to protect his/her customers if they post a ‘no firearms’ sign at their place of business?” It is already the law in MS that a business owner must exercise “reasonable care” to protect a customer from injury. One sees this a lot in “slip and fall” cases (wet floors, owner has duty to warn of danger).

But what about the situation where a customer, legally armed, either openly or with a concealed carry permit, disarms themselves to do business in the “no firearms” business and is injured or killed by some gun-wielding thug intent on committing a crime? What does the owner’s duty of “reasonable care” to protect the customer mean in those circumstances?

There have already been several cases in MS where business owners have been held responsible for injuries to their patrons or residents where they failed to provided adequate security (for robbery, rape, assault, etc.). In the case in Jackson, the shooting occurred outside the place of business, but what if it had happened inside? And what if the person who was shot had disarmed themselves because of the sign in order to go in and do business? It may be just a matter of time before just such a case happens. Just my guess, but at a minimum business owners who post such “no firearms” signs may be put to the expense of metal detectors and/or armed guards inside their places of business. More cost which is usually passed on to the customer.

In the WBDB News footage below, the sign is visible, depicting a handgun with a red diagonal line drawn over it inside a red circle — the universal symbol for no firearms — with black printing below it.

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About Michael Dorstewitz

Mike has been with BizPac Review almost from the beginning. Follow him on Twitter at @MikeBPR.

  • Phil Gwinn

    I have been saying this on virtually every anti-gun issue discussion. If you expect me to obey any sign prohibiting me from protecting myself, then YOU are responsible for my safety.

    Makes perfect sense.

    • John

      Yeah, funny how the police never really come through on that and are never liable for their failures.

      • Phil Gwinn

        Honestly I wasn’t thinking of cops in general. I understand that they are a reactive force.

        I want the business owner who declares his private property to be “gun free” to be proactive enough that a whackjob doesn’t get a gun in the door.

        Security on Campus and in .gov buildings should be the same mindset.

      • NSmith

        Kind of like no one was taken care of in Benghazi…I see a direct correlation….no one accountable, no one there to help….

      • tomrkba

        You don’t want that. The state would be bankrupt in two weeks and would not be able to fulfill its other obligations. Cops are “crime historians” and tax collectors. Every supreme court in the land has ruled that the police are not responsible for the outcome of crime and safety of individuals except in very narrow circumstances.

        • John

          Yeah, I do, to an extent, because they would suddenly get really effective and stop leaving dangerous people out of jail with 25% of their sentences served, which was 25% of the maximum penalty to start.

    • Sharon Smith

      I didn’t realize gun nuts were so helpless without their guns on them. Do we need to wipe your ass for you too?

      • Elliott Whitlow

        When you remove the tool that is best for protecting ourselves then you have to face the liability for your decision..

      • Bill Von Besser

        I didn’t realize that Americans are now so sissified they are terrified of inanimate objects and have to resort to childish name calling in a vain attepmt to be relevant.

  • http://www.youtube.com/miamigarner miamigarner

    fuk that,if it don’t have a metal detector,they sure as hell aint gonna find out i have one.they can kiss my ass.

  • ATTPIAinFL

    Take it to a TRIAL. SOME people need to be held LEGALLY responsible before their attention is gained.

  • robbiedobbs

    I think the thought process is, more people die from accidental gun shootings than ones with intent. I believe the ratio is about 5 to 1.

    • MrApple

      And where do your numbers come from?

      • Metalius Shaperium

        He just made them right up out of the blue….

      • BeeKaaay

        Democrat party handbook.

      • JohnComeau

        most likely pulled out of a convenient orifice.

        • bobfairlane

          Wasn’t that an Al Gore book?

    • Joe Wright

      Robbie, I have to call BS on 5 to 1. Try Google !!

    • thomaspainelives

      In 2012, there were 592 accidental deaths from gunshot. I’m pretty sure that shoots your whole hypothesis all the heck and back.

  • BeeKaaay

    Sue the Gun Free Zone owners into the ground. That’ll stop that nonsense quickly.

    • bobfairlane

      Just buy your gas and candy bar at the next station.

  • Doug_Jeffreys

    No merchants ‘policy’ trumps my right to keep and bear arms. EVER.

  • Bradley Scott Campbell

    if carrying legally concealed i would ignore those signs;