GA House bill could expand presence of guns on private property – WXIA

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HB 1364 would add liability exposure for property owners who disallow legal firearms.

ATLANTA — A bill introduced in the Georgia House this week could expand the presence of guns on private property. The bill would make property owners legally liable if a gun owner gets hurt on property where they aren’t allowed to carry a gun.  

Private property owners generally have a right to keep guns off their property.

Lenox Square is a mall in Buckhead that famously posts signs saying firearms aren’t allowed inside, but it’s also commonplace at smaller public places like bars and restaurants.   

State Rep. Martin Momtahan (R-Dallas) wants to give an incentive to those businesses to allow legal gun owners to carry on their property.

“All we want to make sure is, if you’re in the store or anywhere and it has a ‘no gun’ sign, then that store needs to understand they have absolute custodial care of that person” who wants to carry a legal firearm but isn’t allowed, Momtahan said. 

That means the store becomes legally liable for the safety of the gun owner whose gun has been banished from the property. 

His bill HB 1364 says, “Any lawful weapons carrier who is prohibited from carrying… and who is injured… shall have a cause of action against the person, business or other entity that owns or legally controls such property.”

Timothy Lytton of Georgia State University said establishments that banish firearms could face lawsuits from gun owners whose guns get banished.

“Let’s say I’m a bar owner,” Lytton said in an interview.  “Under the new law, if I prohibit them from bringing their firearms in and they’re attacked by another patron in the bar, then I’m absolutely liable for their injuries that result from that attack because I didn’t allow them to bring their weapon.”

Lytton said the bill could include sporting and concert venues and even private homes that banish firearms.  

Momtahan said that’s fine with him.  

“We have a litigious society, where we settle these types of things in a court of law, rightfully where we should,” he said.

Momtahan’s bill got assigned to the House judiciary committee Friday.

It’s got some Republican cosponsors who have successfully guided other gun legislation to passage. 

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