August 1–7:03 PM ET–UPDATE: State senator Brian Kelsey (R-31)–the chairman of Tennessee’s Senate Judiciary Committee–offered an amendment which completely deleted the original intent and effectively destroyed the bill. The amendment, which did become law, provides that a person or business which has the right to post the property as a gun free zone but who does not do so “shall be immune from civil liability with respect to any claim based on such person’s, business’s, or other entity’s failure to adopt a policy that prohibits weapons on the property. . . .” That immunity is only lost if the permit holder is injured because the person or business acted with “gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct.” [See, Tennessee Public Chapter 947 (2016).]
On July 1, businesses that disarm concealed carry permit holders with gun-free signage will be liable for the safety of those permit holders.
When the law, contained in SB 1736, takes effect, business owners who demand law-abiding citizens disarm themselves will assume liability for injuries they incur while on the “posted premises.” Moreover, the business owners will be liable for injuries a concealed permit holder incurs while retreating from the business to a vehicle–during an emergency–to retrieve the gun the business owner barred.
The summary of SB 1736 makes is clear:
Present law authorizes persons in control of property to post a notice that prohibits firearms on the premises. This bill imposes a duty of care on any person who posts their property to prohibit firearms whereby such person will be responsible for the safety of any handgun carry permit holder while the permit holder is on the posted premises and traversing any area to and from the premises and the location where the permit holder’s firearm is stored. The duty of care created by this bill will extend to the conduct of other invitees, trespassers, employees of the person or entity, vicious animals, wild animals, and defensible man-made and natural hazards.
SB 1736 passed the Senate by a vote of 26 to 4 on March 16. It passed the House by a vote of 77 to 13 on April 18. Governor Bill Haslam (R) signed SB 1736 on April 27.
AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.