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Missouri Bill Would Protect Gun Owners in “Gun-Free” Establishments

A Missouri State House bill would require “gun free” private establishments that ban concealed carry to assume responsibility for the safety of those people if they are harmed.

In the wake of recent mass shootings, many Americans have turned to concealed carry so they can defend themselves in the event of an attack. However, some private establishments are “gun free zones” and prohibit people from possessing a concealed weapon on their premise. Although it is the property owner’s right to do so, it also compels individuals to sacrifice their safety by disarming themselves, while the business owner is not required to compensate for this by providing any armed security. The disarmed customers are still expected to look out for themselves.

Introduced by State Rep. Mike Moon, HB 300 would apply only to commercial businesses and not personal property.

The bill reads as follows:

Any business enterprise authorized to post signs on property prohibiting the possession of a concealed firearm by a person authorized to carry a concealed firearm under sections 571.101 to 571.1221 shall assume absolutely custodial responsibility for the safety and defense of the endorsement or permit holder while such person is on the premise of the businesses enterprise and on any property owned by the business enterprise that the endorsement or permit holder is required to traverse in order to travel to and from the location where the endorsement or permit holder’s firearm is stored.

If a person is harmed, they “shall have a cause of action against the business enterprise posting such signs so long as such person is an invitee on such property. In addition to damages, such person shall be entitled to reasonable attorney’s fees, exert witness costs, and other costs necessary to bring the cause of action.”

If approved, the law would take effect August 28.

The bill was read January 4 but has not been referred yet to a committee.

This proposed legislation strikes the correct balance between authority and responsibility by respecting the rights of property owners while at the same time insisting they assume responsibility for the safety of their customers, clients, and patrons whom they deny the right to bear arms. Businesses could still prohibit concealed carry, but they would do so with the knowledge that they are now legally responsible for protecting those people.