On January 11th, a report of a shooting outside a convenience store in Jackson, Mississippi, which had a “no firearms” sign posted at the entrance, brings to mind one obvious observation and one not-so-obvious question.
First, it is obvious that criminals have no regard whatsoever for “no firearms” signs and that, in fact, the presence of such a sign may even encourage a criminal to enter a business to commit a criminal act (robbery, etc.) since, presumably, no one (except possibly the business owner) would have a firearm. The not-so-obvious question is…
“What is the responsibility of the business owner to protect his/her customers if they post a ‘no firearms’ sign at their place of business?”
It is already the law in Mississippi that a business owner must exercise “reasonable care” to protect a customer from injury. One sees this a lot in “slip and fall” cases (wet floors, owner has duty to warn of danger).
But what about the situation where a customer, legally armed, either openly or with a concealed carry permit, disarms themselves to do business in the “no firearms” business and is injured or killed by some gun-wielding thug intent on committing a crime? What does the owner’s duty of “reasonable care” to protect the customer mean in those circumstances?
There have already been several cases in Mississippi where business owners have been held responsible for injuries to their patrons or residents where they failed to provided adequate security (for robbery, rape, assault, etc.). In the case in Jackson, the shooting occurred outside the place of business, but what if it had happened inside? And what if the person who was shot had disarmed themselves because of the sign in order to go in and do business?
It may be just a matter of time before just such a case happens. Just my guess, but at a minimum business owners who post such “no firearms” signs may be put to the expense of metal detectors and/or armed guards inside their places of business. More cost which is usually passed on to the customer.
What is your take on Mississippi gun laws and Constitutional Rights?