Wis. lawmaker wants liability penalties for businesses banning guns

Like Minnesota’s, Wisconsin’s gun carrying law allows businesses to ban guns in their workplace simply by posting signs saying they’re not allowed.

A state lawmaker there, however, wants to discourage them from doing that.

Rep. Bob Gannon, R-Slinger, is proposing legislation that would triple the damages for any shootings that occur at a business where guns are banned, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports today.

Under Gannon’s bill the liability would attach automatically. In other words, if someone — a concealed carry permit holder or otherwise — injured or killed someone with a gun inside a store that had a sign prohibiting weapons, the business would be on the hook for triple the damages to any victims.

Gannon, who is in the property and casualty insurance business, said he was not aware of any similar law in other states.

“The insurance industry won’t like it,” he said, because insurers would have to raise rates for customers insisted on banning weapons from their sites, or insist on more security or metal detectors

Now, residents could choose not to enter businesses that post signs banning weapons if they feel such locations are unsafe, but Gannon says that if businesses do not allow “personal self-defense devices,” they must guarantee customer safety in other ways.

Gannon says he won’t reveal the names of lawmakers who support his bill until January.

  • PaulJ

    Where did Gannon come up with the “triple” amount. It sounds arbitrary or maybe cynically intended to attract attention.

    • DavidG

      Seems to be a common multiplier: patent infringement, RICO, anti-trust. No idea the basis for it in those though.

  • Jeff
    • Al

      I disagree on that definition of “disarming.” Patrons aren’t surrendering their guns at the door, or handing them over to the business owner. They’re asked to leave them at home, in the car, or elsewhere.

      • Jeff

        Sure, we could nitpick about the definition…technically the business owner is demanding that people are “unarmed” when they would otherwise be “armed” entering the business. But that difference is not really all that important because that person still doesn’t have the tool needed to defend themselves.

        • Al

          “Nitpicking about the definition” is the very way laws are made and the way society decides norms and mores. Words are used for a reason; they convey meaning and intent in both a legal and social sense.

          So, yes, “disarming” isn’t the right word to use there, and to suggest it is frames the argument in a way that moves away from the facts. Stick to the facts.

    • Rob

      I spend no time at all worrying that any given business that I patronize is going to be shot up. And anyway, good guys with guns usually shoot bystanders accidentally, or end up being disarmed or shot by the bad guy.

    • Ryan Johnson

      Partially responsible is a far cry from 300% responsible.

    • DavidG

      So what’s the business liability to someone injured in a shop where the presence of guns is encouraged?

  • >>Gannon says he won’t reveal the names of lawmakers who support his bill until January.<<

    I'm shocked.

  • Al

    Oh, Wisconsin. You so crazy.

  • Gary F

    Most mass shootings happen in places that have a no guns sign.

    Didn’t the guy who shot up the nightclub in Orlando read the sign?

    • Kassie

      There was an armed off duty police officer there that night, in uniform, providing security. Didn’t stop a single death, did it?

      • Gary F

        The killer knew that only one person in there had a gun legally, Officer Adam Gruler. He forced Gruler into a situation which made him retreat. If there were legal carry, a bad person doesn’t know who else may be carrying.

        • Jerry

          Whenever I am in a bar full of drunk people, I always think about how much safer I would feel if they were all carrying guns.

          • Postal Customer

            Not a single one of these gun freaks has an answer to that. Not a one of them can advance their brains past “there should’ve been more guns.” Not a one of them are mentally capable of imagining what could happen if everybody in the club was armed.

          • J F Hanson

            Hey, Dave!

            As a stand-in for IQ–which is, of course, a stand-in for the ability to do “ready generation of ‘answers,'” how ’bout we compare

            1. quantity of college degrees, or

            2. quality of undergraduate schools?

            For you and me.

            Up to it? That might show who is ‘mentally capable.’

            And, I am assuming you do know that MN carry law allows a permittee to carry in bars, and to even have a drink while there! With that in mind, how many “drunk permittee shoots drunk in bar” stories do we get treated to by the MSM?

            The soft bigotry of liberal stereotyping is ever-present in any discussion of “gun control.”

        • >>If there were legal carry, a bad person doesn’t know who else may be carrying.<<

          Ah, the old "Good Guy with a gun" myth…and it really IS a complete myth:


          • jon

            Not even a good guy with a gun, but the suggestion that there might be a good guy with a gun that you might not be aware of.

            Because people who commit mass shootings care so much about their own lives that they would not risk charging into a situation where they might get shot (by any one other than a swat team several minutes/hours later).

            You know how a good guy with a gun stop a bad guy? BY NOT GIVING/SELLING THEM A GUN!

          • Rob

            bzzztt! most mass shooters don’t care about their own safety at all. that’s why they kill themselves or go SBC.

          • jon

            That’s a my bad, I forgot the sarcasm tags…

          • J F Hanson

            Then how come the survey done for Obama says otherwise–see point 7:


            You note, I presume, that Obama never references this report, ordered up by his XO.

          • I wonder how many of the “defensive” use of a firearm were involved in a mass shooting incident as outlined in the article I posted?

            Then there’s also this:


            It basically boils down to “this topic needs more and better research”…

          • J F Hanson

            Anecdotally, I know of at least three: one in Omaha, one in Colorado (?) and one in WV(?) The one in Omaha lead to the shooter’s suicide, as did the Colorado one. In WV, two adult students ran back to their cars to get their guns and got back to confront the shooter–who surrendered.

            I will dig up links to these once I get the details sorted out correctly.

          • All of your examples are “active shooters in a crowded situation” as stated in the article that I posted?

            Boy howdy, I’d really like to hear about those.

            And one of the key messages from aforementioned article:

            “In some cases, can a “good guy” with a gun neutralize the threat and help save lives? Absolutely. But it doesn’t happen very often. It is, for the most part, a myth perpetuated by people who’ve never been shot at.”

          • J F Hanson

            Yes, all the examples are in a crowded situation: Omaha–in a shopping mall; Colorado–shopping mall; and WV–college classroom / offices.

            In all three, the effect was ‘neutralized’–e.g. committed suicide or surrendered.

            I’ll dig this info out; maybe Bob will recall the incidents I am referring to–at any rate, more ‘later.’

          • As stated earlier, these events seem to fall into the “… it doesn’t happen very often” category, statistically insignificant.

          • J F Hanson

            But that insignificance is because “mass shootings” are insignificant WRT to the overall death toll from firearms’ criminal use .

          • Approx. one mass shooting per day thus far in 2016…

        • Rob

          and the shooter in such instances, especially if he is mentally ill, will not take such facts into consideration for even a nanosecond.

  • Jerry

    So this republican legislator is not in favor of letting private businesses do what they want?

    • Tim

      Sounds like a good reason not to locate your business in Wisconsin.

  • Jerry

    This reminds me of the actions of southern legislators before the civil war. It wasn’t enough that southern allowed slavery. They had to make sure every state did.

  • Tim

    I’m curious as to the wording of “personal self-defense devices”. That would seem to leave some room for interpretation. For example,could a business prohibit firearms, but allow something like pepper spray, a kubotan, etc so they were in compliance?

  • Jay T. Berken

    I’m waiting for the law that indicates that you must be packing or no service.

  • MarkUp

    That the bill singles out “gun-related injuries” is odd to me.

    If a terrorist detonates a homemade bomb in a building, there’s nothing the business could have done.

    If a terrorist enters a store and kills people with a gun, well the sign in the window is clearly the reason why, so shame on the business owners for operating their business per their values.

    If the bill is really about the “scourge of terrorist activity” why not include any and all terrorist activity?

    The message I get from this bill is that I better take that political sign out of the window, or bad things could happen and your rates will go up. That sounds awfully close to extortion.

  • Cat

    This is the most idiotic proposal on issues around guns that I have heard. And, supporters in elective office want to remain anonymous?

  • Veronica

    MAYBE the bill is being sponsored to benefit some craven insurer who wants to cash in on the rate increases on big-ticket places to insure, like hospitals. I mean, it’s crazy to think hospitals should be places where guns are carried freely, right? Then they’d HAVE to pay the huge as heck insurance penalty.

    Which reminds me– I broke down on Tuesday listening to this. We have to stop thinking guns and violence are ever a good thing. It’s time to stop. http://www.npr.org/2016/06/21/482981905/in-syria-underground-efforts-to-train-doctors-amid-regime-attacks

  • KTN

    Not sure how closely the two states are tied together with the no guns signs, but here in Minnesota those are merely a suggestion, they carry no legal weight.

    • Yes they do if a business wanted to get a trespass complaint for carrying one, subjecting the potential n’er do well to a crushing $25 fine:

      jurisdictions whose carry permits are recognized under paragraph (a).
      §Subd. 17.Posting; trespass. (a) A person carrying a firearm on or about his or her person or clothes under a permit or otherwise who remains at a private establishment knowing that the operator of the establishment or its agent has made a reasonable request that firearms not be brought into the establishment may be ordered to leave the premises. A person who fails to leave when so requested is guilty of a petty misdemeanor. The fine for a first offense must not exceed $25. Notwithstanding section 609.531, a firearm carried in violation of this subdivision is not subject to forfeiture.
      (b) As used in this subdivision, the terms in this paragraph have the meanings given.
      (1) “Reasonable request” means a request made under the following circumstances:
      (i) the requester has prominently posted a conspicuous sign at every entrance to the establishment containing the following language: “(INDICATE IDENTITY OF OPERATOR) BANS GUNS IN THESE PREMISES.”; or
      (ii) the requester or the requester’s agent personally informs the person that guns are prohibited in the premises and demands compliance.
      (2) “Prominently” means readily visible and within four feet laterally of the entrance with the bottom of the sign at a height of four to six feet above the floor.
      (3) “Conspicuous” means lettering in black arial typeface at least 1-1/2 inches in height against a bright contrasting background that is at least 187 square inches in area.
      (4) “Private establishment” means a building, structure, or portion thereof that is owned, leased, controlled, or operated by a nongovernmental entity for a nongovernmental purpose.
      (c) The owner or operator of a private establishment may not prohibit the lawful carry or possession of firearms in a parking facility or parking area.
      (d) This subdivision does not apply to private residences. The lawful possessor of a private residence may prohibit firearms, and provide notice thereof, in any lawful manner.
      (e) A landlord may not restrict the lawful carry or possession of firearms by tenants or their guests.
      (f) Notwithstanding any inconsistent provisions in section 609.605, this subdivision sets forth the exclusive criteria to notify a permit holder when otherwise lawful firearm possession is not allowed in a private establishment and sets forth the exclusive penalty for such activity.
      (g) This subdivision does not apply to:
      (1) an active licensed peace officer; or
      (2) a security guard acting in the course and scope of employment.


  • jon

    Insurance companies deal in statistics.

    There are Almost 400 million people in this country, and 10,000 of them die due to a homicide where the weapon was a firearm.

    Any increase in rates would be negligible, and it might be easier to increase everyone’s rates rather than checking to see who prohibits firearms.