The sudden puckering in any business with a Gun Free Zone sign.

The owner of the Aurora movie theater that was the site of a deadly 2012 attack could have reasonably enough foreseen the danger of such an attack to be held liable for it, a federal judge ruled Friday.

Noting “the grim history of mass shootings and mass killings that have occurred in more recent times,” U.S. District Court Judge R. Brooke Jackson ruled that Cinemark — owner of the Century Aurora 16 theater — could have predicted that movie patrons might be targeted for an attack. Jackson’s ruling allows 20 lawsuits filed by survivors of the attack or relatives of those killed to proceed toward trial

via Federal judge rules Aurora theater shooting was foreseeable – The Denver Post.

Even though this does not apply in Florida (here the GFZ signs are pretty much window decoration unless you are in one o the few locations the law prohibits to carry) it has to send shocks to states where ignoring the signs do carry legal penalties.

As much as many have cheered this decision, I am not liking it much and not because of the gun angle but because it may open doors to other stupid lawsuits: You should have insulin on the premises because you sell candy and an irresponsible diabetic can hog himself into a sugar coma or you should have epi pens because you have flowers outside, etc.

It also does not change the law. It is still there and I much rather have it either eliminated or at least not enforced or simply ignored by force of disuse.

And finally because the last thing we need is to be associated with tort lawyers seeking a quick payday.

Just my opinion.

20 Replies to “The sudden puckering in any business with a Gun Free Zone sign.”

  1. Colorado does not have binding signage either . In order for a criminal offense to happen the ” off limits ” place or area must secure entrances and screen ( metal detectors and guards ) everyone entering . As the theater was signed the worst that could happen is a trespass charge if the person carrying was asked to leave and refused .




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  2. The Judge also based this on a history other violent events at this particular theater, and that the door did not have an alarm.
    This just denies the motion to dismiss, that there is a legal argument to be made, one to be decided in court. No guarantee the plaintiffs will win.
    I agree that a win could open up all kinds of liabilities, but this was the right call to let it go to court.




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  3. I don’t find your insulin analogy to be very analogous. If they had a sign on the door barring you from bringing in your own insulin, then maybe it would be analogous.

    The point isn’t that the place didn’t provide protection, it’s that they didn’t provide protection WHILE deliberately forcing their patrons to not be able to have their own. Pretty big difference.




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    1. See? You sell sweets! And a diabetic may fall into temptation and make himself sick even if he is supposed to be responsible about carrying insulin. I am stretching it a bit but the concept of attractive nuisance can be applied by a crafty ambulance chaser…..I know a stretch but so was the Twinkie defense and the McDonalds coffee.




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      1. The irresponsible diabetic who chooses to not bring their own insulin where otherwise allowed bears the fault for his sugar coma. However, if you were to sell sweets, but not allow people to bring their own insulin on your property, then I could see some liability on your part if you didn’t provide it.

        If you were to prohibit – or worse, electronically jam – all cell phone transmissions on your property, but fail to provide emergency-use land-lines, you’d be held liable if patrons couldn’t contact 9-1-1 in an emergency.

        I think this is the right call, on the part of the judge. It’s not reasonable to prohibit sh!tting in the corner while failing to provide restrooms, and it’s not reasonable to prohibit armed self-defense while failing to provide any real protective measures.

        Just my $0.02.




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      2. It’s not that it’s a stretched analogy, it’s that it’s not even analogous at all.

        Nobody barred said hypothetical person from carrying insulin. In the court case the defendant barred people from carrying their firearms.

        Simply not even related concepts unless we’re talking about someone putting a “no insulin allowed” sign on the door.




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        1. Both our arguments have one mayor fault: They make sense. They are logic and that is the way it should be with everything else.

          But how many laws are enacted or court decisions made that do not make any sense at all?

          And that is my point.




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  4. Sorry guys, I don’t agree with any of it. I am sick of seeing private business owners told what they can and cannot do regarding policies on their own property, and then being held liable for any and everyone’s stupidity (which is not the same as negligence, so don’t go there) or criminal action.
    I would vote with my feet and $$$. Same as smoking policies. I own a bar, I decide if folks can smoke there. if I don’t like guns (that would make me an idiot sheep, but that would be my problem) then up goes the GFZ sign. Business owners should run their business the way they see fit.
    And if you don’t like it, don’t go there, don’t spend your money, don’t waste your time.
    I see a GFZ sign, I take my firearm and the human attached to it, and go elsewhere.
    It’s called personal responsibility, and it is not the movie theater’s fault that some lowlife shot the place up. And the folks that patronize the place took their lives into their own hands (empty, weaponless hands, at that) the minute they knowingly walked in the door!




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    1. The owner is still allowed to post GFZ signs and eject carriers who ignore them — they just have to realize they’re taking more responsibility for the safety of their patrons than if the GFZ signs weren’t there.

      If they posted “No Fire Extinguisher” signs and didn’t have any on the premises, they’d be liable for deaths in the case of a fire.

      (Of course, fire codes would have shut them down long before. Perhaps we need “security codes” as well?)




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    2. I agree with you in principal, especially with businesses that offer only entrainment that is optional for customers. However, there are GFZ in places where it is not reasonable to avoid. One example, Killeen Texas, near Ft Hood. Time Warner cable company office to order and change cable service. Any before you think it, cable service for TV is optional, however, they are one of the only choices in the area for Internet access that many of us require for our “work at home” jobs. So, being a “quasi” utility, should they not be responsible to provide a safe environment, either by removing the 30.06 (No Gun Zone) sign or by having security? The post office is another such example.

      Now, if the Jones Cafe want to make their cafe a no gun zone, you can as you suggest just go elsewhere. I think part of being in business is providing a place suitable for employees and customers.

      Maybe, we need to start with employers that do not provide security and prohibit carry of weapons? Next, maybe businesses that receive government monies, like post office.

      Now, if you are referring to a private residence then I agree, my home, my rules.




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      1. I did say private business owners, they should be allowed to do as they please. I have no expectation of a private business taking responsibilty for my safety, that’s my job.
        And yep, I agree with you, I think any place that gets govt money, (our tax dollars) should abide by govt laws (our rights).
        As for the cable company, it’s your decision to do business with them or not.




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  5. I sort of agree with Donna g, in that they could post GFZ signs if they want, but it should not have any binding effect beyond asking you to leave if discovered. That way adults can decide to ignore the sign and carry anyway since the establishment is failing to provide meaningful security and trying to disarm patrons. So, I despise the laws in those states where the GFZ signs are binding, but in that case I would not give them a lick of business.




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    1. It scares me that GFZ signs can be legally binding. The worst should be being asked to leave, in which case if I refuse, that would be a trespassing charge. Otherwise, it’s a pissing contest of conflicting laws and rights. My right to self defense vs I’m not even sure what?




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  6. “You should have insulin on the premises because you sell candy and an irresponsible diabetic can hog himself into a sugar coma or you should have epi pens because you have flowers outside, etc.”

    The only thing i’ll note here is your examples still do not deny the right to self preservation. A store with candy may not have epi-pens, but nobody is stopping me from carrying my own in order to preserve my life. Personally, I see a clear line of demarcation there.




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    1. Again you are applying logic which is fine and dandy till legislators get in the way.
      Let me give you the example of suing gun makers for crimes that criminal commit with guns. Even though they will swear up and down that the principle will only be applicable to guns, how long do you think it will take for tort lawyers to have the same principles applied to other products? Car manufacturers getting sued because some jackass lost its mind and drove over kids. Hell, Oil companies sued because some arsonist bought a gallon of gasoline and torched a building full of people?
      That is why I get all worried when apparently “good” court cases come to trial…




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  7. Family owned, independent (private) business, 25 employees, several married couples. One couple divorcing, major upheaval and affecting business and our and employees livelihood. Per lawyer, cannot fire one, cuz they could sue for wrongful termination, can’t fire both, same reason: even tho they have restraining orders against each other! Remember, small business. Both show up at work, like any other day, and husband murders wife. We are not only sued by wife’s family, we had to pay off. Now, anybody think the business had anything to do with it? Of course not, doesn’t matter, pay up! Wife’s family didn’t sue husband for wrongful death, even tho he committed and was convicted of the crime. He’s in jail forever, so he has no money, so they sued us. And won.
    And that’s how it gets out of fucking hand!
    So don’t ever tell me that tort lawyers won’t go after those who had nothing to with something, cuz yes they will, and it’s very good odds they will succeed.
    Oh, and BTW, we were told to be grateful that other employees didn’t sue for God knows what else.
    And yet another reason restraining orders don’t mean squat…




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