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How do we shift the concept of liability?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Rem700SD, Apr 19, 2007.

  1. Rem700SD

    Rem700SD Active Member

    Dec 8, 2005
    South of Houston, TX
    If you listened to the numerous interviews with Suzanna Hoff(sp?) you niticed a recurring theme. It wasn't prominent, because it wasn't the exact topic, but I agreed with her even before the VT shootings. It was this. Why is there no liability for those who create gun-free zones? If you deny my right to self protection, you should be liable if I'm a crime victim on your property.
    How do we get a shift in liability? If we're able to make this kind of shift, I think that we'd see a huge reduction in areas where our CCW's are not welcome. So how would we get this started? courts? legislation? lawsuits?

  2. El Tejon

    El Tejon Elder

    Dec 24, 2002
    Lafayette, Indiana-the Ned Flanders neighbor to Il
    Rem, in negligence lawsuits what is alleged is a "breach of duty". Failure to do this or not do that, e.g. in car crashes "failure to keep a lookout" or medical malpractice "defendant doctor did not do X but should have."

    Most direct way would be to pass legislation creating a duty of property owners, including governments. Create a cause of action via a statute for those injured in gun free zones because of criminal actions. I would propose strict liability, triple damages and attorney fees to the prevailing plaintiff.
  3. JerryM

    JerryM Active Member

    Jan 2, 2003
    New Mexico
    A great question.
    Considering the situation, and the time to respond by the LE, I think a lawsuit is very much appropriate.
    I wonder if some lawyer might not be willing to take a class action suit?

  4. Robert Hairless

    Robert Hairless Senior Member

    Oct 11, 2003
    I think that it would be easier to focus on having every state expressly assume the duty to protect every citizen and traveller within its boundaries.

    When a state assumes that duty it assumes liability for the consequences of any failure to do so.

    Even if no state passes a law to that effect, continual hammering on the need for it would help educate the public to the fact that no one has police protection except what the police give voluntarily.

    It should have a healthy effect on public awareness of the need for people to have the means to defend their own lives and those of their family.
  5. helpless

    helpless Active Member

    Sep 3, 2006
    Good question, I will think about this....
  6. Bartholomew Roberts

    Bartholomew Roberts Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 26, 2002
    Legislation would be the way to go.

    I don't think litigation alone is a viable strategy here. You would have to establish a duty of the property owner to protect you from harm. That might be possible; but beyond the common-law "Duty of an inkeeper" type stuff you would be breaking a lot of new ground.

    You would have to establish that the shooting incident you were suing over was foreseeable, which in the Virginia Tech case shouldn't be a huge hurdle since the campus apparently had a plan for this type of event and had just had CHL holders complaining about the policy after a 2006 evacuation.

    Another tough part would be proving cause "but for" not having his concealed handgun, the victim would have lived or not been injured. That part is going to kill a lot of cases and frankly, you aren't going to get too many cases to begin with when you need a disarmed CHL holder who was the victim of a shooting before you can even start.
  7. Henry Bowman

    Henry Bowman Senior Member

    Dec 30, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    No thanks. I don't want my taxes spent of trying to acomplish absolute safety or the pay-out for failure to do so. Both are likely to lead to erosion of other rights.

    Many countries with strict gun control are very safe because miscreants can be jailed or silenced for speaking an opinon or publishing news that makes the .gov look bad, not following the correct religion, being able to search people and property without cause, no protection against self-incrimination, no jury trials, cruel and unusual punishments,.... Those are the infringements that create "safety," the disarmament is so that they can get away with it.

    The liability (and social reform as a result of it) you seek will need to be addressed judicially through existing common law duties and expectations. Concepts like strict liability, for example, were not created legislatively.
  8. MarshallDodge

    MarshallDodge Senior Member

    Nov 7, 2005
    Utah, USA
    I would prefer legislation and I have said this before...

    If I am killed due to the inability to defend myself based on laws, policies, etc. I have instructed my wife to hold the policymaker liable.

    Hit 'em in the wallet!
  9. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

    Dec 24, 2002
    Forestburg, Texas
    Why are we wanting to shift the blame away from the person who actually committed the crime?

    The legislation idea really is the way to go, but then again as gun owners, we often seem quite a bit against laws that cut into our rights. As a private property owner (on which there are businesses), I don't much care for the idea of being told what I can and cannot do. I favor concealed carry, but I also favor having the choice to decide. I am already limited by laws and ordnances as to the activities I can conduct on the property, advertising, landscaping, parking, occupancy, etc. I have the concern that with each law that stipulates what others can do on MY property, I lose that much more control of MY property that I paid for with MY money.

    With that said, I also fully understand that part of the package of being a property owner is that laws will come and go that will have an influence on how I may conduct business. I am not confused on this matter in the least, but I don't necessarily agree with all the laws that are created that I feel have a negative impact on my financial interests.
  10. ATW525

    ATW525 Member

    Aug 8, 2006
    Colebrook, NH
    That would appear to be the biggest hurdle. I haven't heard anything so far about anybody present during the VT shooting having a license to carry. The policy of disarmament likely had no effect if nobody present would have otherwise been armed. I've yet to hear any survivors say, "I wish I could have done something, but because of the school policy I had to leave my gun off campus." Of course at this time we don't know if any of the deceased were in that position.
  11. BigG

    BigG Mentor

    Dec 24, 2002
    I definitely believe those that pass "feel good" legislation, like Gun Free School Zones, should be held fully accountable. The Virginia Legislature or whomever decreed the Zone should pay through the nose for limiting the rights of the students and teachers to defend themselves. Maybe if they were held accountable they would stop passing stupid laws. Has anyone ever been saved by a gun free school zone?
  12. eliphalet

    eliphalet Participating Member

    Apr 16, 2007
    I was robbed, beaten, you XXcity are responsible :)

    At first thought I think such lawsuits should be filed frivolous or not. They would undoubtedly make headlines and if handled with much planning and forethought will bring things to light the main stream media cannot avoid.

    Things as always will be spun and twisted but in the end it just might be a heck of a idea. No more frivolous a lawsuit than city's attempting to sue gun manufactures for crimes committed with those guns, which is akin to suing Ford because a drunk ran over your loved one.

    Not really wanting to do that but hey, fight fire with fire so to say.

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