Missouri Lawmakers Debate Bill That Could Hold Business Owners Liable for Shootings

Missouri residents recently packed the state capitol to hear testimony on a law that would hold any enterprise electing to prohibit the possession of firearms — including by the placement of signs as authorized under section 571.107 — responsible for the safety and defense of any person who is authorized to carry firearms or other arms under Chapter 571 of the state law while on the premises of that business.

The Show-Me State became a Constitutional Carry state in 2016. So anyone legally allowed to possess a gun can carry it without a permit. But firearms can still be banned in places such as schools and churches. And businesses can still post signs prohibiting firearms on their property.

House Bill 96 would make businesses that prohibit firearms liable for injuries sustained by people who would have otherwise been able to carry a gun for protection on the property.

Rep Nick Schroer (R-O’Fallon)

“Criminals don’t obey laws,” bill sponsor Rep. Nick Schroer (R-O’Fallon) told Fox2now.com. “We can put as many laws we want on the books; look at the war on drugs, any other law we have on the books. Criminals are still fighting against them. These policies of making gun-free zones or an area gun-free, provide a sense of safety to those who engage in magical thinking.”

The bill received its public hearing on April 11, and was met by a standing-room-only crowd of supporters and opponents of the measure.

Opponents, including members of Moms Demand Action, as well as the Missouri Hotel and Lodging Association and the Missouri Railroad Association, urged lawmakers to focus on protecting communities and to keep guns out of the hands of what they called “dangerous people.”

However, State Rep. Jered Taylor (R-Nixa) noted that 98 percent of mass shootings still occur in gun-free zones.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Schroer, testified that the bill isn’t likely to pass this year.

“The likelihood of this passing through this (General Laws) committee, the next committee and then getting to the (House) floor with the priorities that we have and the bills that are coming over from the Senate, you know, common sense would state that it’s probably not going to pass this year,” Rep. Schroer testified as reported by MissouriNet.com.

The 2017 session of the Missouri assembly ends May 12. —By Peter Suciu


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