Liability Act --
"If you create a gun-free zone, you're liable
for any harm it causes."
So-called "gun-free zones," implemented privately with door signs or by government with laws and rules, are reckless, negligent and known to be dangerous.
After years of delay, recent shooting rampages have alerted the public and legislators to the fact that so-called "gun-free zones" are anything but gun free. They are free-fire zones where murderers know they will meet defenseless victims and no resistance.
The Gun-Free-Zone Liability Act meets this challenge head on.
The bill respects private property rights and allows anyone to declare a "gun-free zone." There is no cost to government. It simply attaches liability if a well-intentioned but fraudulent gun-free zone causes harm.
The bill had been introduced in Arizona and in Georgia but failed to pass at first. It will be in Arizona again in 2008 and is under consideration in other states. A similar bill has been introduced in New Hampshire in 2008.
The Gun-Free-Zone Liability Act has excellent value even if
it isn't enacted in its first years -- it is a just and common-sense bill that would help protect the public. Resisting its reasonable provisions requires taking the moral low ground -- that you have no right to defend yourself, or that your civil right to arms can be denied by a wall sign. A lot of very bad gun bills
are planned, so it's critical to balance that with bills as positive
as this one. Ask your legislators to at least look at the bill and
support it. Basically, "If you create a gun-free zone, you're
liable for any harm it causes."
GUN-FREE-ZONE LIABILITY ACT
GUN-FREE-ZONE LIABILITY ACT
GUN-FREE-ZONE LIABILITY ACT
Talking Points & Bill Text
"If you create a gun-free zone, you're liable for any harm
"If you create a gun-free zone, you're liable for any harm
(NOTE: Copy of the proposed bill text follows.)
Originally introduced in Arizona as The Defenseless Victim Act of 2002, this bill recognizes
that gun-free zones, recklessly made and typically with no alternative
security provided, are known to be extremely dangerous.
We have seen this (when the bill was first introduced) in the Wakefield, Mass., slayings, the
Luby's Massacre, and even the hijacked airliners on Sept. 11, where
pilots and passengers were defenseless, in the false name of security.
Congress responded to that with the "Arm The Pilots" law.
The death toll from gun-free zones continues to mount. The 2007 Virginia Tech slaughter of helpless students and faculty was a tipping point, and the Christmastime massacre that year in an Omaha shopping mall was the final straw.
The mall had "no guns allowed" signs to keep out FBI-certified citizens with CCW permits. The murderer, as in all such cases, disobeyed the signs. The news media continues to suppress stories where armed individuals stop such mayhem. See for example, The Bias Against Guns, by John Lott, for numerous egregious examples. You can also read this eloquent gun-bias editorial online.
The Gun-Free-Zone Liability Act basically says that, in public places,
if you create a dangerous gun-free zone, you're liable for any harm
it causes. There is no cost or budget item associated with enacting this bill.
The idea that gun-free zones are safe is fraudulent.
It is a mythology perpetrated by anti-rights activists who can
often be recognized by their beliefs that:
1 - self defense should be illegal,
2 - guns should be confiscated,
3 - no one but "authorities" should have guns,
4 - your right to arms can be denied by posting signs,
5 - government can take care of you better than you can.
The anti-self-defense lobby would tell you to rely upon the police
for your safety, but they always omit the inconvenient facts that:
1 - police have no legal duty to protect you;
2 - they routinely respond only after an event to pick up the pieces;
3 - when seconds count, the police are just minutes away.
In the tragic homicides above
and countless others you see on TV,
the police don't draw their guns,
they draw chalk lines when you're gone.*
A person who would deny your right
or ability to self defense is as violent and
wrong as the person who assaults you.
Acting in self defense against a criminal assault is legally guaranteed in all 50 states
and federally, as it should be. It is as old as the first written
laws of civilization. Denying the fundamental right to self preservation
is unjust, immoral, dangerous and should not be tolerated.
The notion that gun-free zones are safe is fraud perpetrated on
a) Only innocent victims like you and me are affected. Armed criminals
ignore no-guns signs and could care less -- they're laughing at
b) No alternate form of security is provided. You are knowingly and recklessly made vulnerable, while property management accepts
no responsibility for your safety or their negligent behavior. The
bill addresses only blatantly anti-gun-rights actions that would callously disarm
you and ignore your plight.
c) Despite bias in news coverage and the fear-mongering left, privately
held firearms have been repeatedly shown to deter and prevent crime
in one scholarly study after another (detailed at great length in Armed, by Kleck and Kates). Since the nation's inception
we have known and embraced the freedom-giving truth that guns protect
the innocent, and that this is good.
d) Denial of your civil rights under color of law is a federal offense under 18 USC §241 and 18 USC § 242:
The Gist: Anyone who, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, custom or regulation, willfully deprives any person of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States, shall be fined, or imprisoned for up to one year, or both.
If bodily injury results, or if the violation includes the use or attempted or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, explosive or fire, the prison term rises to up to ten years. If death results, or if such acts include kidnapping, attempted kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault, attempted aggravated sexual assault, or an attempt to kill, the violator may be fined, imprisoned for any term of years up to life, or put to death.
Initial reactions to the Gun-Free-Zone Liability Act have been highly
supportive by knowledgeable people in the gun-rights movement. It
shows all the signs of becoming a major national rallying point.
This could turn into one of the key gun issues of the decade (literally,
the right to bear arms), especially if terrorist attacks continue and
defenseless innocent victims are slaughtered.
The public-opinion value alone, forcing the opposition to support helplessness
and victimization, are worth the effort. Now is a good time to bring
this issue into the spotlight.
The bill was first introduced as HB2456, sponsored by a dozen representatives,
in the 45th session in Arizona (2002). The legislators say it gives
them something to sink their teeth into. Give your legislators something
this good -- ask them to introduce the Gun-Free-Zone Liability Act in
your state, for all the right reasons.
Some additional observations appear following the bill text below.
This is good law, supportive of our fundamental rights,
a deterrent to criminals who would perpetrate attacks,
a winner in the publicity battle over gun rights,
and it places responsibility squarely on those
who would cause harm by their direct actions.
It deserves to be enacted.
Please give it your support.
Ask your representatives to introduce and vote for
the Gun-Free-Zone Liability Act.
Alan Korwin, Author
Gun Laws of America
The Gun-Free-Zone Liability Act of 2008
Establishes liability for harm caused by criminal conduct, when
conduct is wholly or partially enabled by limiting an individual's
or ability to self defense.
REFERENCE TITLE: Gun-Free-Zone Liability Act
State of Arizona
Second Regular Session
__.B. _____ Introduced by ________________________
AN ACT AMENDING TITLE 13, CHAPTER 31, ARIZONA REVISED STATUTES BY
ADDING A NEW SECTION.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Arizona:
Section 1. Title 13, Chapter 31, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended
adding new section 13-3119:
A.R.S. §13-3119. Gun-Free-Zone Liability.
A. Any person, organization or entity, or any agency of government
that creates a gun-free zone shall be liable for damages resulting
from criminal conduct that occurs against an individual in such
gun-free zone, if a reasonable person would believe that possession
of a firearm could have helped the individual defend against such
conduct. In the event the conduct is a result of a terrorist attack
as federally defined, or adversely affects a disabled person, a person who is a member of a minority as federally defined, a
senior citizen or a child under 16 years of age, treble damages
B. For the purposes of this section, criminal conduct shall include
offenses specified under this title in Chapter 11 (Homicide), Chapter
12 (Assault and Related Offenses), Chapter 13 (Kidnapping), Chapter
14 (Sexual Offenses), Chapter 15 (Criminal Trespass and Burglary),
Chapter 17 (Arson), Chapter 19 (Robbery), Chapter 25 (Escape and
Related Offenses), Chapter 29 (Offenses Against Public Order) and Chapter 36 (Family Offenses).
C. For the purposes of this section, the term "gun-free zone"
shall mean any building, place, area or curtilage that is open to
the public, or in or upon any public conveyance, where a person's
right or ability to keep arms or to bear arms is infringed, restricted
or diminished in any way by statute, policy, rule, regulation, ordinance,
utterance or posted signs.
OTHER IMPORTANT POINTS
It's critically important that pro-rights individuals put
forth bills to keep the anti-rights activists off balance and busy swatting
at all the flies (like they do to us so effectively). Force the
antis into defensiveness. If you want some ideas for outrageous
affronts to the anti-rights crowd, check out Sunshine Gun Laws,
under Position Papers at http://www.gunlaws.com.
If you have a problem with holding people accountable for
death and mayhem they cause by enabling crime, then of course you'll
be against the Gun-Free-Zone Liability Act. That's a position some anti-rights activists may take. Bring 'em on. If nothing happens, i.e.,
they're correct and gun-free zones are pleasant, safe and
crime free, then the bill has ZERO effect on anything -- and costs nothing. Personally,
I think that facet is particularly edifying. Sort of like, what
harm could it do?
Despite what some people have claimed, private property rights are
unaffected by the Gun-Free-Zone Liability Act. Read it yourself and see.
Gun-free zones are allowed, entirely at a property owner's free
discretion just as they are now, and property rights remain 100% intact.
You can keep guns, ban guns, allow only 9mm, it doesn't matter, and the
new law is silent on this. There is NO coercion (and also no government
spending!) in this bill at all. That's a big part of its beauty.
In fact, only people who would ban your rights and ignore your plight
are affected in any way, and then only if you're attacked and harmed on their
grounds. No blood no foul. It's a truly balanced and even-handed bill.
Also note that truly private property like your home or ranch
are exempt from the bill. ONLY public property or property open
to the public is affected. There is a clear difference (well, some
diehard libertarians might not agree, but you can't please everyone)
between truly private property (like your home) and a place that
is open to the public and privately run, like a mall, or WalMart.
Public places have a well-established duty to provide a reasonably
safe environment, and they have been getting a free ride on this
issue, at your expense. They can still ban guns remember, and you
can still go shop elsewhere. For a wonderful "No-Guns-No-Money" wallet card that you can leave with stores that won't allow you to enter armed, visit the Arizona Citizens Defense League site.
All this does is make clear that whoever creates an obviously
dangerous situation, by forcing the disarmament of innocent people
-- which they're still fully entitled to do under the bill -- there's
a consequence for that risky action. As there should be for creating
such a self-evidently unsafe situation. And it only matters if the
danger manifests, and some psychopath turns the hair parlor into
a victim zone. If there's no assault, then there's no problem. Gun-o-phobes can sleep tight thinking the rest of us are just a bunch of paranoids.
The bill merely addresses criminally misguided
notions of safety.
You may find that your legislators object on grounds that
are hard to justify. I've had some tell me the bill would be fine
if it only limited businesses, and left government gun-free zones,
like parks and buses, intact (talk about hubris!). Other legislators,
including an attorney whose clients are in business, say businesses
should be excluded but government must be controlled! Just emphasize that gun-free zones are dangerous -- who sets them up is not
Try thinking of this as the Luby's Massacre Act. Maybe that
will help emphasize the blatant and profound fraud of proposing
gun-free zones as safety nets. The heartless, insensitive, thoughtless
perpetrators of defenseless victim zones should be ashamed of themselves. At the very least they must be held accountable.
Try thinking of this as the Come-And-Go-As-You-Please Act. Instead of disarming in your car, using gun lockers, or avoiding some places altogether, you just travel about, armed or not as you prefer, and that's all. It's so much better when public places just let people come
and go as they please, without signs and bans, to simply go about
their business. This is how most public places act, and it is responsible
or even patriotic. Think about it -- on a day-to-day basis, places
without these deceptive gun-bans operate just fine. Arizona has more than 70,000 CCW-permit holders, and many other openly armed citizens, routinely, legally and peacefully coming and going.
Think about what the opposition will
have to sound like to say they don't want any liability for murdered
victims they had disarmed. They have to stand up for defenselessness.
It's a good time for the Gun-Free-Zone Liability Act.
* This phrase from a Cartridge Family Band song is used with permission.
A version of the bill was first introduced in Arizona (HB2456 in
2002) by Rep. Randy Graf (R-6th), with considerable support (12 sponsors!).
In 2003, Rep. Graf re-introduced it in Arizona (HB 2320).
The state of Georgia joined the effort to enact this important new
legislation with HB31, introduced by Rep. Bobby Franklin (R-17th).
At least two other states actively considered the bill.
Permission to reproduce or circulate this message
is granted provided credit is included.
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Alan Korwin is the author of seven best-selling books on gun law,
including the unabridged guide "Gun Laws of America--Every
Federal Gun Law on the Books, with Plain English Summaries,"
and state gun guides for AZ, CA, FL, TX, VA. This paper is part
of an ongoing series, click Position Papers on our home page, or
write or call for copies.
"If you knew all your rights, you might demand them."
"After a shooting spree, they always want to take
the guns away from the people who didn't do it."
First posted 1/27/02; updated on 2/1/03 and again on Dec. 10, 2007.