Missouri: Gun-Free Businesses May be Held Liable for Disarming Citizens

In Missouri, newly elected Representative Nick Schroer has introduced a bill which would hold establishments posted as “gun-free” accountable for any injuries as a result of a law-abiding citizen being disarmed.


House Bill 96 would allow any citizen authorized to carry a firearm to sue a business if they become injured by another person or animal as a result of being unable to defend themselves due to the business’ election to designate their property gun-free.

If the injured person could otherwise have used a gun for self-defense, they could sue the business, which “assume(s) custodial responsibility for the safety and defense of any person” on their property who could carry.

The newly-elected Missouri lawmaker cited attacks including James Holmes’ shooting rampage at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado which left 12 dead and dozens more wounded. Schroer said by electing to deem the property a gun-free zone, the theater “almost put a target on the back of all the customers there that had to disarm themselves.”

After extensive work with House research staff to draft his bill, Schroer said the inspiration for HB96 had come from a similar law in Tennessee. That bill, SB 1736, was only passed after politicians added a single amendment which essentially made the entire bill impotent by “deleting all language after the enacting clause and substituting instead the following”:

A person, business, or other entity that owns, controls, or manages property and has the authority to prohibit weapons on that property by posting, pursuant to § 39- 17-1359, shall be immune from civil liability with respect to any claim based on such person’s, business’s, or other entity’s failure to adopt a policy that prohibits weapons on the property by posting pursuant to § 39-17-1359.

In layman’s terms, the TN bill went from placing accountability on gun-free businesses for disarming citizens to a law encouraging businesses to welcome legally armed citizens by shielding them from liability.

Here’s hoping Schroer, and Missouri, is successful in deterring acts of gun violence by making businesses truly consider the consequences of electing to post their property a “gun-free” zone.