Friday, February 3, 2017

Risk Management

Businesses banning guns
May put clients in danger

THE OTHER DAY I was in a medical clinic. As I approached the door I read a sign that read “No guns allowed, not even with a concealed carry permit.”

Fortunately I had left my canon in the gun safe so I went on inside.

As I did, I had two thoughts about the rule.

Thought 1: Would a potential terrorist abide by the clinic’s rules? (Do they abide by the rules in Chicago, LA, and New York City – the answer, based on FBI statistics, is a resounding NO.)

Thought 2: If a potential terrorist started shooting — as did the fellow in my local airport (Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International) — would there be any way to stop the shooter. I did not see any armed guard or police presence in the clinic.

Apparently others had the same thoughts.

ADVISEN FRONT PAGE NEWS (FPN), an insurance-focused source, included as its first item on 3 FEB Florida businesses that ban guns could be held liable for leaving patrons defenseless.

A Miami Herald piece by Kristen M. Clark of the Herald’s Tallahassee bureau bore the same headline.

Ms. Clark poses a question:

    Say a movie theater in Florida banned its patrons from carrying concealed handguns, but a mass shooter came in anyway and attacked — not unlike what happened in Aurora, Colorado, almost five years ago.

Having posed the query, she continues that Under an NRA-backed measure proposed this week in the Florida Legislature, victims who had a permit to carry a concealed weapon could sue the theater for damages, because its weapons ban left them disarmed when they might have been able to use their gun to thwart or stop the attack.

The Herald article continues:

    “It’s the premise in Florida that if a private business wants to prohibit guns in their location that’s open to public, that’s fine; they can do that,” Senate Judiciary Chairman Greg Steube said. “But if you’re going to do that, in my opinion, I should have some assumption that I’m going to be protected as a conceal-carry permit-holder because you’re taking away my ability to defend myself.”

    The proposed law change would subject private businesses to potential civil penalties if an incident happens that “could reasonably have been prevented” had guns and other weapons not been banned.

    About 1.7 million people have concealed weapons permits in Florida, the most of any state in the country.

In the airport

Florida law bans guns in airports, even in “unsecured” (before TSA screening) areas.

The liberal web site Think Progress has an article by Bryce Covert headlined Days before airport shooting, Florida lawmakers worked on bill to allow guns in airports that claimed the shooting at FLL was the was the sixth mass shooting in the U.S. so far this year. Ms. Covert did not bother to note that it was the only incident at an airport.

She noted that Florida lawmakers began rallying support for SB 140, a state bill that would repeal laws which, among other things, ban guns in airport terminals like the one where the shooting occurred. If passed, the legislation would allow those with concealed carry licenses to bring guns into passenger terminals.

Specifically, SB 140 states:

    An act relating to openly carrying a handgun; amending s. 790.06, F.S.; authorizing a compliant licensee to openly carry a handgun; revising the list of specified locations into which a licensee may not openly carry a handgun or carry a concealed weapon or firearm; reenacting s. 790.053(1), F.S., relating to the open carrying of weapons, to incorporate the amendment made to s. 790.06, F.S., in a reference thereto; providing an effective date.

In particular, the modified S. 790-06 would prohibit weapons

9.(14.) Inside of the sterile area of any airport or

10.(15.) Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by federal law.

The numbers in parenthesis (* *) are from S. 760.06 FS as it currently reads.

The bill is available on-line as a text file and in Portable Document Format (PDF).

IN THEORY, if the modified law was in force, a person with a carry permit, might have been able to shoot the attacker, saving lives. The reason for the “in theory” is that the person firing at the attacker needs to take into consideration innocent by-standers; the same reason cops don’t fire into crowds.

Interestingly, the revised law would permit open carry as well as concealed carry. There are many pros and cons to open carry that probably will be debated by Florida’s legislators.

Related web sites

Sun Sentinel time line

NeoGAF blog opinions

Florida Senate Bill 610 “find a balance” between gun owners’ rights and private property rights”

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