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Currently Browsing: Carrying / Self-Defense

The Management Is Not Responsible

There’s a certain amount of libertarian ambivalence about laws that force companies to allow their employees and patrons to have firearms (or other weapons) in vehicles in parking lots on private property. On the one hand, the property rights of the owner are trampled. On the other, if this is not forced, the self-defense right of the individuals are trampled. No matter what, someone’s natural rights are getting trampled. The justification for parking lot laws boils down to property rights are less important than self-defense rights.

But, there’s an interesting lawsuit that’s come out of the Aurora, CO mass shooting a few years back. Victims and family members are proceeding with a wrongful death/personal injury suit against the theater chain. Normally, I’d say this was an attempt to go after the deep pockets. But, we have been told that this theater chain was somewhat unusual in the region for posting their property, and it’s suspected that the shooter chose this theater at least partially because it was posted, since the theater was not the closest to his home.

A federal judge has again refused to dismiss wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits filed against a movie theater chain by victims of a 2012 mass shooting at a Colorado cinema where 12 people were killed and dozens injured.

In general, the lawsuits claim Cinemark had lax security at its theater in the Denver suburb of Aurora when a gunman opened fired during a midnight screening of the Batman film “The Dark Knight Rises.”

The article then goes on to point out that other theaters in the chain hired security, but this theater chose not to. The theater chain’s defense is that they should not have a “duty and burden to have foreseen and prevented the criminal equivalent of a meteor falling from the sky.” However, by encouraging their patrons to disarm under threat of banning from the property or other legal actions, I’d say that they have chosen to assume the “duty and burden” by forbidding their patrons from retaining the means of self-defense. And, at any rate, a mass murderer is not the only reason for someone to wish to have the means to defend themselves readily to hand.

In the end, this is why those signs and policies exist, because after a tragedy, people will go looking for the deepest pockets that can provide them monetary compensation. The assumption has been, until now, that the signs may not be effective against lawbreakers, but they are effective against the plaintiff’s bar; that they are the equivalent of those signs you see at coat racks and in parking lots that say “management is not responsible for theft.” (which is literally true, but apparently needs to be spelled out). However, today we live in a legal regime where the search for deep pockets causes the plaintiff’s bar to advance the theory that if a property owner does not have a policy against the carriage of weapons, they are responsible for the actions of anyone who does carry a weapon onto the property. Which is absurd, of course.

If this lawsuit goes through, though, the property owners will be forced to take on the duty of defense of their patrons. For a variety of reasons I don’t expect this lawsuit to succeed; but it points out a libertarian way of obtaining the same results as a parking lot law, without the trampling of the rights of the property owners. Pass laws that make it harder to sue the property owner for the actions of a third party on that property, a la the Protection of Lawful Commerce In Firearms Act or the safe harbor provisions of the DMCA, and impose a duty to defend patrons if the property owner chooses to post their property as a “gun free zone.” Then leave it to the free market and the insurance companies to make those signs evaporate…

 

H/T to Saysuncle

DC to Appeal Carry Ruling

According to local news, the Chair of the DC City Council says they have decided to appeal the ruling forcing DC to recognize some kind of lawful carry by citizens.

DC Still Presses for More Time

The District of Columbia wanted to keep their ban on carry by law-abiding citizens. The court said no. Then, DC said they needed 180 days. The court said that 90 days was plenty. Despite the fact that the sky did not actually fall during the couple of days of lawful carry, DC is still spending their time begging the courts for more time to decide how they can most restrict individual rights.

A New Day, A New Gun Ban Initiative

After the embarrassing political loss for a county office, we knew Bloomberg wouldn’t sit back and let that slide. Now he’s sending the Moms who are continuing to use their brand, despite being rolled into Everytown Against Illegal Mayors Who Hate Guns (or whatever their name is), after grocery stores thanks to images offered up by open carry activists with rifles.

So far, it seems like Kroger is willing to stand by their policy of just letting state and local laws prevail. The company spokesman told HuffPo, “We know that our customers are passionate on both sides of this issue and we trust them to be responsible in our stores.”

The Dignity of Being Armed

I’ve generally believed when you make a decision to be armed, you try to do your best to be armed in all circumstances where you can. But sometimes, you just have to give in. Caleb seems to be in the same place, describing that there are no good solutions for jogging. When I used to bike regularly through Fairmount Park in Philly, I usually figured out a way to carry. It’s not difficult if you eschew the typical biker spandex and go with shorts and a loose t-shirt. You’ll probably print a bit, but if it’s legal, who cares.

But I don’t really concern myself anymore about difficult situations. When that comes up, I just leave it at home. I’m working in New Jersey now, which means generally not carrying very often. I don’t want to risk strapping on in the morning and then forgetting about it if I get called on-site. Do I worry about being unarmed? No. Not really. The more I’ve thought about this, the more I think mindset is more important than the weapon. Firearms are just tools. It’s the mindset that makes them weapons.

Statistically I’m taking a much bigger risk indulging in my love of fried foods and distilled/fermented beverages than I am leaving the gun at home. Caleb’s probably doing more to protect his life jogging than he would spending equivalent time driving car while armed. For most suburban dwelling middle class folks, the odds that you’re ever going see the balloon go up are smaller than being in a serious car wreck, or coming down with a life threatening illness before you’re 60.

But even for suburban dwellers, the odds of being the victim of a violent crime over a lifetime is not so insignificant as to make it something to just casually dismiss. Most of us know a few people in our lives that have been victims of violent crime. Maybe we only know a few more than have ever had cancer. Over the years thinking about this, I’ve come to the conclusion that carry is not a numbers game. If it were, we’d spend less time with the guns and more time at the gym, and we’d try to fly and take trains instead of driving places.

I believe the reason we all carry is because most of us demand a high level of personal autonomy, and the individual dignity that comes with that. That’s why people who have a weak sense of individuality don’t understand it, and why it’s such an affront to collectivist thinking. I’d much rather die in an accident, or from a health issue, than die on someone else’s terms. I can’t honestly think of a worse way to go.

If I were one of the 40,000 Yazidis trapped on Mount Sinjar, staring down the ISIS horde, I’d much rather having a gun in my hand, pondering a strategy for taking at least 5 barbarians with me, than have to contemplate submission. Even if submission would mean living, I’d rather die on my own terms, as a free thinking and acting individual, than submit to the barbarian horde.

That’s probably also why I’m not keen on spending more treasure helping the Arabs, but I’m willing to do so for the Kurds. The Arabs have largely thrown down their weapons and submitted when confronted. The Kurds are fighting, and at the end of the day I’m always going to be willing to throw my lot in with people who are willing to stand up for themselves, even against terrible odds. The reasons the Kurds are fighting barbarians are the same reasons we carry. It’s not about statistics, or odds, it’s about dignity.

DC Gets 90 Days

We knew the District of Columbia would likely file for a stay to the ruling allowing carry, and they did yesterday near the close of business. This morning, the federal judge granted it, but only for 90 days instead of the requested 180 days. This is one reason most people were urging folks not to carry in DC while this case in process.

It will be interesting to see what happens come October 22 – the deadline. It’s clear that the DC police proved they could come up with a somewhat workable policy on the fly with multiple memos that covered most situations for lawful carry. I see no reason why the DC City Council can’t come up with a clearer policy similar to the Police Chief’s in 90 days – assuming they don’t just appeal this and hope for more favorable decisions.

The DC Firearms Carry Memo

Alan Gura posted the memo that went out the DC police officers about how to handle carry situations. He specifically posts this important detail with the memo:

The District has indicated that they will seek a stay of the decision. If a stay were to be granted, this policy would doubtless change, and I can’t guarantee that I’ll be able to update this blog post in real time. So be careful out there.

Looking at the memo and the scenarios they outline, it does appear that anyone caught carrying will have all of their information taken down and the police will pursue “potential further investigation” even if they are perfectly lawful to carry at the time they stop you.

Carrying in DC

Well, we’re to Monday morning and it appears there’s no change in the situation from Saturday evening when it comes to the Washington, DC gun situation. In fact, last night Emily Miller was reporting on Twitter that the DC police have apparently conceded on the carry issue for the time being.

Dave Kopel notes that before you strap a gun on your hip and head into DC, you should probably try to find out more about this very fluid situation.

As of 1:30 a.m. ET on Monday morning, I was not able to find a copy of Chief Lanier’s order on the websites of the D.C. Police, D.C. Attorney General, or city government. It would be helpful for non-residents who seek to comply with the D.C. government’s interpretation of the current situation if the order were speedily made available to the public.

And he also reminds people that there are many laws on the books that were not invalidated by the court.

Nothing in the District Court’s opinion invalidates the D.C. ban on magazines holding more than 10 rounds. Nothing in the opinion addresses the numerous federal and D.C. laws which prohibit carry in a huge number of locations within the District–such as most federal buildings, lots of federal property, as well as schools and colleges. (The D.C. “school” ban even encompasses a school of cosmetology whose students are all adults.)

Winning with a Case Dismissal

From NRA today:

Earlier this year, the National Rifle Association (NRA) sponsored litigation against the state of Illinois for its unconstitutional system of denying concealed carry licenses without any notice or opportunity to be heard. Before the Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA) filed suit with NRA backing, many residents were denied the right to carry a firearm without any indication as to why the state had concluded they were a danger to themselves or others. Furthermore, the state of Illinois also denied these individuals any opportunity to rebut this unsubstantiated conclusion.

The ISRA, with the backing of the NRA, challenged this scheme as a violation of due process, and the State effectively conceded as much by ending this unfair treatment of law-abiding Illinois citizens. In light of this act of submission by Illinois, the current suit has been voluntarily dismissed.

Responding to Parking Lot Law Critics

Pennsylvania is pushing a parking lot law to protect employees who carry and lock their firearms in their cars while at work, and at least one newspaper editorial writer isn’t too happy with it. Rather than ignoring it, the primary sponsor, Sen. Rich Alloway, is responding directly to the criticism.

Currently, many of our friends and neighbors risk losing their jobs by carrying their firearm with them in their vehicle on their way to work. Twenty-three states have already enacted laws to protect their citizens from losing their jobs, and Pennsylvania should join them.

Today, daily commutes are punctuated by short errands.

Whether at the dry cleaners or at the grocery store, headlines remind us that crime can, and does happen anywhere. Furthermore, many work shifts are during non-traditional hours, when crimes are potentially more likely to occur.

Mr. Major dismisses these concerns as “What if factors” that needlessly frighten people. The irony is that his newspaper is regularly reporting violent crimes, that clearly demonstrate that sometimes the “What if’s” do occur.

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