Missouri lawmaker wants businesses held accountable if violence occurs where guns are prohibited
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Missouri lawmaker wants to hold businesses accountable when they don’t allow customers carrying guns.
Nick Schroer, a newly-elected state representative from the St. Louis area, says gun owners are, at times, living in fear. House Bill 96, which Schroer is driving, would allow gun owners to sue merchants that don’t permit guns if they’re assaulted while doing business there.
If Schroer’s bill becomes Missouri law, places like libraries, churches, and movie theaters would be open to lawsuits if a violent act were to happen inside. Schroer, a Republican, says people injured in such a case should be allowed to sue since that business took away their rights.
“What it’s going to do is attach liability to their business decisions to disarm,” Schroer told FOX 4 News on Tuesday night.
Schroer, a lifelong National Rifle Association member, points to instances like the 2012 movie theatre massacre in Aurora, Colorado, where 12 people were killed when a gunman unloaded on an unarmed audience.
“You have to have in the back of your mind there might trained individuals — trained Missourians — that could have firearms in there that could stop, like many instances across this nation, that could stop that crime,” Schroer said.
Schroer’s proposed bill, which hasn’t been heard in the state house yet, has its critics.
“Business owners have a right to prohibit somebody from carrying a gun. This is a private establishment,” Lindsey Gruber, head bartender at Barrel 31, said, even though bars would be exempt if this passed.
Gruber helps manage a popular spot on 31st Street, known for tasty food and tastes of whiskies. Barrel 31 is one of a number of bars in the metro that don’t permit guns inside.
“Alcohol and firearms are typically not a good combination. Tempers flare when people are drinking,” Gruber said.
Gruber adds she’s been forced to throw a number of people out of her bar, and she doesn’t need a gun in a drunk person’s possession.
“The last thing I need to be concerned about, as a bartender, is that table 23 over there is packing heat when someone bumps into their table,” Gruber said.
Schroer points to a similar law that’s taken effect in Tennessee. If Schorer’s bill becomes Missouri law, it would take effect in August 2017.