GA: Bill Would Make Property Owners Liable For Injuries In Gun-Free Zones

by Tommy Grant

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Concealed carriers have long said if property owners don’t allow them to carry on their property, then those property owners should be held liable if people are attacked on it and can’t protect themselves. After all, it only makes sense, as it is the owners posting “No Guns” signs on their property that are leaving gun owners defenseless in areas where criminals have no qualms about having a gun.

Now, a measure introduced in the Georgia legislature would put that onus on property owners who restrict lawful residents from carrying on their property. The measure, House Bill 1364, was introduced by Republican state Rep. Martin Momtahan.

“All we want to make sure is, if you’re in the store or anywhere and it has a ‘no gun’ sign, then that store needs to understand they have absolute custodial care of that person,” Rep. Momtahan said of the measure.

According to the text of the legislation, “Any lawful weapons carrier who is prohibited from carrying his or her weapon, including a concealed weapon, and who is injured, suffers bodily injury or death, or incurs economic loss or expense, property damage, or any other compensable loss as the result of conduct of another person occurring on property where the lawful possession of weapons is prohibited, shall have a cause of action against the person, business, or other entity that owns or legally controls such property and causes such prohibition to occur. In addition to damages, the lawful weapons carrier shall be entitled to reasonable attorney’s fees, expert witness costs, and other costs necessary to bring the cause of action.”

The measure further describes what a concealed carrier would have to prove in order to win a ruling in his or her favor if an incident were to occur.

“To prevail in an action brought under this subsection, the plaintiff shall show by a preponderance of the evidence that: (A) The plaintiff was a lawful weapons carrier at the time of the incident giving rise to the action; (B) The plaintiff was prohibited from carrying a weapon, including a concealed weapon, on the property where the incident occurred by the person, business, or other entity that owns or legally controls such property; and (C) The prohibition provided for in subparagraph (B) of this paragraph was not required by state or federal law but was imposed at the discretion of the defendant.”

The measure also requires that anyone posting a notice on their property that firearms are prohibited must also post language on that notice acknowledging that any person while on such property shall be under absolute custodial care of the property owner.

As proposed, the law would not apply to properties where carry bans are required by state or federal government entities.

The measure has been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration. If approved by the state legislature and signed by Republican Gov. Bryan Kemp, the law would go into effect on July 1.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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