A bill introduced by Missouri state Rep. Caleb Jones (R) would subject business owners who post “no guns” signs to potentially costly lawsuits, while immunizing businesses that allow guns from suits resulting from those guns:
1. Any private business that displays signage which prohibits public invitees, business visitors, and employees from carrying a concealed weapon on the premises owned or occupied by such private business shall be liable for any injury or damages incurred by such public invitees, business visitors, and employees as a result of such prohibition if such public invitee, business visitor, or employee establishes by a preponderance of evidence that having access to a firearm may have prevented his or her injury or damage.
2. Any private business that does not prohibit public invitees, business visitors, and employees from carrying a concealed weapon on the premises owned or occupied by such private business shall be immune from any liability arising from its decision to permit concealed weapons to be carried on business premises.
The clear purpose of this bill is to coerce all businesses into permitting firearms — even businesses where permitting such firearms would be unusually dangerous — by using the carrot of lawsuit immunity and the stick of liability. Significantly, the bill contains no exemption for bars, meaning that even establishments that are routinely filled with drunk patrons are also pushed to permit guns.
According to one academic study, “[n]early half of all homicides, committed by men or women, were preceded by some sort of argument or fight, such as a conflict over money or property, anger over one partner cheating on another, severe punishment of a child or abuse of a partner, retaliation for an earlier dispute, or a drunken fight over an insult or other affront.” Moreover, “40% of male offenders were drinking alcohol at the time” that they committed a homicide offense, and about one in three female offenders also were drinking at the time of their offense.