Lawsuit Seeks to Punish Parking Lot Over Stolen Gun

AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File

One of the biggest issues I have with some of the lawsuits out there regarding guns is the idea of blaming people for things that aren't their fault.

The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act was passed because anti-gun groups wanted to sue gun manufacturers for every shooting that happened in this country, even when there's absolutely no way a gun company was responsible for it. They just wanted to make the cost of operating too expensive.


So I get a little concerned about lawsuits that don't directly target the person who committed the shooting.

However, a lawsuit out of Nashville is a tad different.

A Metro police officer, who was shot with a stolen gun, is suing a business for allowing the gun to be stolen.

Detective Donovan Coble and his wife, Kayla, are suing The Parking Spot in Donelson claiming the business was a magnet for criminals who wanted to steal guns.

Attorney David Raybin called it a "new type of lawsuit" that seeks to hold a business accountable for failing to keep a vehicle secure and allowing a gun on the street.

The Parking Spot is a valet parking business near the Nashville airport, which promises to keep vehicles secure while people travel. The lawsuit claimed the company did not have "secure fencing" and even failed to "lock the doors of cars entrusted to them."

It further claimed the company should have been on high notice because of the growing number of guns stolen from vehicles in Davidson County.

In other words, it seems the business is being sued because it billed itself as a secure place to store your car while traveling, but they took no reasonable steps to actually secure the vehicles, up to and including locking the door.


As a result, cars were illegally entered and some of the contents were stolen, including at least one firearm.

The owner of the gun had reason to believe his or her firearm would be safe at the lot--it claimed to offer secure vehicle storage after all--so not suing them makes sense.

Yet I have concerns.

It's not so much with this lawsuit because I think a case can be made for this sort of thing and I'm sure the courts will figure it out in due course.

No, my concern is what follows this "new type of lawsuit."

Right now, it's suing a company for not taking reasonable precautions that they should have, especially considering the services offered, but will it stay there? 

Or, as it seems more likely, will we see some degree of creep from this where, say, a restaurant is sued because someone got shot with a gun that was stolen out of a car in their parking lot? The restaurant probably isn't advertising a secure parking lot, but will that matter?

The problem with lawsuits is that they can spark someone else to take it a bit further. Inch by inch, more and more places may see themselves embroiled in legal issues until they start trying to prohibit firearms completely. That might do some good with the lawsuits, but it'll hurt law-abiding folks who end up being robbed somewhere else and injured or killed because they had to leave their gun at home in order to comply with the restaurant's rules.


So yeah, I have concerns.

That said, my hope is that the courts will put the kibosh on such things before they can really take hold. I might be dreaming, but dreaming is all we have sometimes.

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