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Pre-filed bill would allow gun owners to sue 'gun-free' businesses

File photo | Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

Republican lawmakers in Missouri are continuing their push for expanded gun rights by targeting businesses that operate as gun-free zones.

Legislation pre-filed in the Missouri House would allow people authorized to carry firearms to sue businesses that ban firearms on their properties if they're wounded in a robbery or assault while at that business. It's sponsored by Rep.-elect Nick Schroer, R-O'Fallon.

"The language of the bill would not require a business owner to act or refrain from acting in any way; all it would really do is attach a certain liability to decisions that they make," he said. "Let's say if they mopped the floor and didn't put up a wet floor sign and somebody slipped and fell, there (are) consequences to that business decision."

The proposal would not affect local governments or college campuses that operate as gun-free zones. Schroer said he hopes it will lead to a decrease in such zones across Missouri.

"No written rule is going to stop somebody from committing a crime," he said. "It's been shown across the nation that these gun-free zones or no-gun zones don't work; deterrence is occurring in these areas where people know that there are armed, trained people, whether they're civilians or guards."

Rep. Stacey Newman, D-Richmond Heights, strongly disagreed in brief statement:

"I support the right of business owners to determine if they choose to allow firearms or not on their private property. There is no credible evidence that a gun prevents any robbery or assault. In fact, the medical community insists that the presence of a gun increases injuries/death."

The 2017 legislative session begins Jan. 4.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.