Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Missouri House Bill Would Make Gun-Free Business Owners Liable

This may stir up controversy. If so - that's OK. At least it will get people thinking...

Do you own a gun? Do you have a license to legally carry it? Have you been prevented from carrying it by certain businesses owners who have declared their business property to be “gun-free?” Or have you carried into the business anyway – which is some states is a crime?

One state representative-elect in Missouri has decided that business owners who refuse to allow legally armed citizens to carry their firearms onto/into their businesses can be sued by any citizen who is on or in their business property, unarmed against their will, and is injured by another person or animal.

Newly elected Representative Nick Shroer will be introducing House Bill 96, which would allow gun carriers to file suit against businesses that enforce gun-free zones on their property.

Business owners who declare their property to be gun-free would be liable for any injuries sustained that could have been prevented had the injured party been allowed to carry their firearm on their person while on the property.

In some ways a business owner's decision to forbid firearms on their business property is discrimination on the level of the same-sex marriage vs businesses controversy. Stay with me here.

Businesses are not allowed to refuse service to a same-sex couple up to and including forced participation in their wedding if one is a photographer or a baker.

Yet states allow business owners to discriminate against gun license holders by refusing service to them if they're carrying their legally registered, licensed firearm. In Texas the law says if the business owner(s) post an official 30.06 and/or 30.07 sign (concealed and non-concealed) in their business window or in a prominent place near the entrance, licensed gun owners may not enter the business carrying a firearm.

There are no criteria for the business owners to meet when deciding their businesses are legally gun-free. At least here in Texas, business owners merely have to post the sign to instantly make it illegal for a licensed gun owner to carry on the business premises.

Why is that not discrimination against a protected class of people? If the law says I'm legally licensed to carry a firearm in public am I not protected by that law? And if the law allows business owners to say “Not in my business,” how is that not discrimination against those with a legal right to carry?

Of course, gun owners will never be placed in a protected class. That wouldn't be politically correct. Yet the principle is the same. If business owners are not allowed to discriminate against people for their lifestyle choices (which is a Supreme Court decision not an actual, written law) why should they be able to discriminate against someone for legally exercising their guaranteed Second Amendment right?

Representative Shroer says his bill wouldn't have affected any cases in Missouri but instead refers to the mass shooting inside the gun-free theater in Aurora in 2012. The theater was designated by the corporation as a gun-free zone. Yet, if one or more theatergoers had been armed that evening they very well could have stopped the killings before the numbers began to add up.

Shroer says business owners who declare their businesses gun-free put targets on every one of their customers. And that's true. Gun-free zones often draw crazed murderers because they know they will meet little to no resistance.

It's about time to hold business owners accountable as accomplices to the murders of innocent people.

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