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Mon Sep 24, 2012, 01:50 PM

 

Should businesses that forbid the carrying of guns have any responsibility to protect patrons? [View all]

Last edited Mon Sep 24, 2012, 07:23 PM - Edit history (2)

Businesses that forbid people carrying arms to protect themselves typically take no additional efforts to protect their patrons. This is because the policy is not actually intended to protect the patrons, but the business. Apparently businesses have thought that if they didn't forbid guns, they could be sued by victims of gun violence or accidents, but if they put up a "no guns" sign that would protect the true object of their concern--themselves.

That legal assumption is about to be tested, and it's about time.

Two lawsuits were filed Friday in U.S. District Court on behalf of Denise Traynom, Brandon Axelrod and Joshua Nowlan. Their attorney, former Denver judge Christina Habas, declined to comment. A spokeswoman for Cinemark USA Inc. had no immediate comment.

James Holmes, 24, is accused of killing 12 people and wounding 58 others during a special midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises."

Prosecutors allege the former University of Colorado, Denver, graduate student left the theater through a back exit, propped open the exit door and re-entered the theater to begin the shooting. The lawsuits claim Holmes was able to move his car into position after he left the theater through the back exit.

In addition to failing to have alarmed exit doors, the lawsuits claim Cinemark was negligent in failing to hire extra security for the midnight showing or generally protect patrons who were sitting in a darkened theater. They also say Cinemark failed to help evacuate the theater even after the shooting ended. The lights were either off or very low even after the gunfire stopped, according to the lawsuit.

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/09/22/aurora-shooting-theater-set-to-reopen-in-2013/?test=latestnews


What do you think? Should a "no guns allowed" sign absolve a business of all responsibility, or should it make the business responsible to protect its unarmed patrons?

Edited to add: a business having responsibility for patrons it has required to be disarmed does not necessarily imply that the business must hire armed guards. There are many other measures that could also be taken. For instance, in this case the victims are complaining that simple precautions could have prevented this crime:

Prosecutors allege the former University of Colorado, Denver, graduate student left the theater through a back exit, propped open the exit door and re-entered the theater to begin the shooting. The lawsuits claim Holmes was able to move his car into position after he left the theater through the back exit.

In addition to failing to have alarmed exit doors, the lawsuits claim Cinemark was negligent in failing to hire extra security {note that there is no hint of a requirement that this extra security be armed--TPaine7} for the midnight showing or generally protect patrons who were sitting in a darkened theater. They also say Cinemark failed to help evacuate the theater even after the shooting ended. The lights were either off or very low even after the gunfire stopped, according to the lawsuit.


A business that forbids its patrons to be armed on its premises can take reasonable precautions short of armed security; it will be up to the courts to decide what level of effort will get them off the legal hook.

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Reply Should businesses that forbid the carrying of guns have any responsibility to protect patrons? [View all]
TPaine7 Sep 2012 OP
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