Florida senator files bill holding businesses that ban guns liable in shootings


  • Photo via Greg Steube/Facebook
Florida Sen. Greg Steube has apparently not had enough controversy in 2017, and now the Sarasota Republican has filed a bill allowing people with concealed weapons licenses to sue gun-banning businesses if they're the victims of a shooting at those locations.

The NRA-backed bill, SB 610, is based on Steube's premise that private businesses, including restaurants, movie theaters, theme parks, coffee shops and nightclubs, are taking away a permit holder's ability to defend themselves by not allowing guns inside, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Victims who survive a shooting and want to sue a business have up to two years to show the weapons ban "left them disarmed when they might have been able to use their gun to thwart or stop the attack," the Times reports.

"The Legislature intends to find a balance between the right of a concealed weapon or firearm licensee to carry a concealed weapon or firearm in order to exercise the right of self-defense and the right of a property owner or entity in charge of a property to exercise control over such property," the bill reads. "A business, organization, or entity...which prohibits a concealed weapon or firearm licensee from carrying a weapon or firearm onto the property of such business, organization, or entity assumes absolute custodial responsibility, when the licensee is prevented from carrying a weapon or firearm due to the prohibition, for the safety and defense of the licensee against any unlawful or reckless act by another person, or any attack by a vicious or wild animal, on the owner’s property."

You read that right. Under this proposal, if you're viciously attacked by a penguin at SeaWorld Orlando and can prove a glock would have stopped that bird right in its tracks, you can sue the theme park for all it's worth. Of course, this provision is only good for people who already want to take their guns everywhere. Victims of mass shootings who don't have concealed weapons licenses are apparently out of luck under this bill and would probably have to prove a business was negligent for civil damages.

NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer tells the Times that businesses who don't want an assault weapon paraded down the cereal aisle or at a private day care "incur an extraordinary duty of care to protect those people and an extraordinary liability if they fail to do so."

Using the NRA's logic, gun-banning businesses have more responsibility to protect people than gun manufactures and sellers, which the organization argues can't be held accountable if people use their guns to kill others. Steube has filed quite a few proposals that sound like they're from a gun-rights defender's fever dream, including bills to allow concealed weapons at airport passenger terminals, government meetings, career centers, and public colleges and universities.

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