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Gun-Free-Zone Liability

from Alan Korwin

This may be the most pro-rights gun bill to come down in many years. A version of the bill has already been introduced in Arizona (HB2456) with considerable support (12 sponsors!) and has excellent PR value even if it isn't enacted in its first year. A lot of very bad gun bills are planned, so it's critical to balance that with bills as positive as this one. Ask your legislators to at least look at the language and support it. It's about time!




Talking Points & Bill Text

"If you create a gun-free zone, you're liable for any harm it causes." "If you create a gun-free zone, you're liable for any harm it causes."

(NOTE: Copy of the bill follows.)

Originally called the Gun-Free-Zone Liability Act, this bill recognizes that gun-free zones, recklessly made and typically with no alternative security provided, are known to be extremely dangerous.

We have seen this recently in the Wakefield, Mass., slayings, the Luby's Massacre, and even the hijacked airliners on Sept. 11, where pilots and passengers were defenseless, in the false name of security. Congress responded to that with the "Arm The Pilots" law.

The Defenseless Victim Act basically says that, in public places, if you create a dangerous gun-free zone, you're liable for any harm it causes.

The idea that gun-free zones are safe is fraudulent.

The unfortunate fact that many people believe gun-free zones are safe is a testament to the stunning power of American media, its well documented biases and the ease with which large numbers of people can be misled and manipulated.

It is a mythology perpetrated by anti-rights activists and left-wing elites who can often be recognized by their beliefs that:

1 - self defense should be illegal,
2 - guns should be confiscated,
3 - no one but "authorities" should have guns,
4 - government can take care of you better than you can,

and they're actively pursuing these goals.

The anti-self-defense lobby would tell you to rely upon the police for your safety, but they always omit the inconvenient facts that:

1 - police have no legal duty to protect you, and
2 - they routinely respond only after an event to pick up the pieces.

In the three examples above and countless others, the police don't draw their guns, they draw chalk lines when you're gone.*

A person who would deny your right or ability to self defense is as violent and wrong as the person who assaults you.

Self-defense against criminal assault is guaranteed in all 50 states and federally, as it should be, and is as old as the first written laws of civilization. Denying the fundamental right to self preservation is unjust, immoral, dangerous and should not be tolerated.

The notion that gun-free zones are safe is fraud perpetrated on the public because:

a) Only innocent victims like you and me are affected. Armed criminals ignore no-guns signs and could care less -- they're laughing at you.

b) No alternate form of security is provided. You are knowingly and recklessly made vulnerable, while property management accepts no responsibility for your safety or their negligent behavior. The bill addresses only anti-gun-rights bigots who would callously disarm you and ignore your plight.

c) Despite bias in news coverage and the fear-mongering left, privately held firearms have been repeatedly shown to deter and prevent crime in one scholarly study after another. Since the nation's inception we have known and embraced the freedom-giving truth that guns protect the innocent, and that this is good.

Initial reactions to the Defenseless Victim Act have been highly supportive by knowledgeable people in the gun-rights movement. It shows all the signs of becoming a major national rallying point. This could turn into one of the key gun issues of the decade (literally the right to bear), especially if terrorist attacks continue and defenseless innocent victims are slaughtered. The PR value alone, forcing the other side to support helplessness and victimization, are worth the effort. Now is a good time to bring this issue into the spotlight.

The bill has been introduced as HB2456, sponsored by a dozen representatives, in the 45th session in Arizona (2002). The legislators say it gives them something to sink their teeth into. Give your legislators something this good -- ask them to introduce the Defenseless Victim Act in your state, for all the right reasons.

Some additional observations appear after the following bill text.

This is good law, supportive of our fundamental rights, a deterrent to criminals who would perpetrate attacks, a winner in the publicity battle over gun rights, and it places responsibility squarely on those who would cause harm by their direct actions. It deserves to be enacted. Please give it your support. Ask your representatives to introduce and vote for the Defenseless Victim Act of 2002.


Alan Korwin,
Author The Arizona Gun Owner's Guide (20th edition, 2002)
Scottsdale, AZ




Establishes liability for harm caused by criminal conduct, when such conduct is wholly or partially enabled by limiting an individual's right

or ability to self defense.

REFERENCE TITLE: Defenseless Victim Act

State of Arizona (sponsoring house) Forty-Fifth Legislature Second Regular Session 2002

__.B. _____ Introduced by ________________________


Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Arizona:

Section 1. Title 13, Chapter 31, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended by

adding new section 13-3117:

A.R.S. 13-3117. Gun-Free-Zone Liability.

A. Any person, organization or entity, or any agency of government that creates a gun-free zone shall be liable for damages resulting from criminal conduct that occurs against an individual in such gun-free zone, if a reasonable person would believe that possession of a firearm could have helped the individual defend against such conduct. In the event the conduct is a result of a terrorist attack as federally defined, or adversely affects a disabled person, a senior citizen or a child under 16 years of age, treble damages shall apply.

B. For the purposes of this section, criminal conduct shall include offenses specified under this title in Chapter 11 (Homicide), Chapter 12 (Assault and Related Offenses), Chapter 13 (Kidnapping), Chapter 14 (Sexual Offenses), Chapter 15 (Criminal Trespass and Burglary), Chapter 17 (Arson), Chapter 19 (Robbery), Chapter 25 (Escape and Related Offenses) and Chapter 29 (Offenses Against Public Order).

C. For the purposes of this section, the term "gun-free zone" shall mean any building, place, area or curtilage that is open to the public, or in or upon any public conveyance, where a person's right or ability to possess firearms is infringed, restricted or diminished in any way by statute, policy, rule, regulation, ordinance, utterance or posted signs.



It's critically important that pro-rights individuals put forth bills to keep the unfriendlies off balance and busy swatting at all the flies (like they do to us so effectively). Force the antis into defensiveness. If you want some ideas for outrageous affronts to the anti-rights crowd, check out Sunshine Gun Laws, under Position Papers at

If you have a problem with holding people accountable for death and mayhem they cause by enabling crime, then of course you'll be against the Defenseless Victim Act. That's the position I expect anti-rights bigots to take. Bring 'em on. If nothing happens, i.e., the bigots are correct and gun-free zones are pleasant, safe and crime free, then the bill has ZERO affect on anything. Personally, I think that facet is particularly edifying. Sort of like, what harm could it do?

Despite what some people have claimed, property rights are UNAFFECTED by the Defenseless Victim Act. Read it yourself and see. Gun-free zones are allowed, entirely at a property owner's free discretion just as they are now, property rights remain 100% intact. You can keep guns, ban guns, allow only 9mm, I don't care, and the new law is silent on this. There is NO coercion (and also no government spending!) in this bill at all. That's a big part of its beauty. In fact, only people who would ban your rights and ignore your plight are affected in any way, and then only if you're attacked on their grounds.

Also note that truly private property like your home or ranch are exempt from the bill. ONLY public property or property open to the public is affected. There is a clear difference (well, some diehard libertarians might not agree, but you can't please everyone) between truly private property (like your home) and a place that is open to the public and privately run, like a mall, or WalMart. Public places have a well established duty to provide a reasonably safe environment, and they have been getting a free ride on this issue, at your expense. They can still ban guns remember, and you can still go shop elsewhere.

All this does is make clear that whoever creates an obviously dangerous situation, by forcing the disarmament of innocent people entering, ("legitimate" coercion by the property owner) -- which they're fully entitled to do under the bill -- there's a consequence for that risky action. As there should be for creating such a self-evidently unsafe situation. And it only matters if the danger manifests, and some psychopath turns the hair parlor into a victim zone. If there's no assault, then there's no problem, and liberals can sleep tight thinking we're all a bunch of paranoids. Then they can pretend they're not quaking, while they wonder if they'll squeak through tomorrow too with their criminally misguided notions of safety.

You may find that your legislators object on grounds that are hard to justify. I've had some tell me the bill would be fine if it only limited businesses, and left government gun-free zones, like parks and buses, intact (talk about hubris!). Other legislators, including an attorney whose clients are in business, say businesses should be excluded but government must be controlled! Just tell 'em that gun-free zones are dangerous -- who sets them up is not the issue.

Try thinking of this as the Luby's Massacre Act. Maybe that will help emphasize the blatant and profound fraud of proposing gun-free zones as safety nets. The heartless, insensitive, hate-filled perpetrators of defenseless victim zones should be ashamed of themselves.

It's so much better when public places just let people come and go as they please, without signs and bans, to simply go about their business. This is how most public places act, and it is responsible and even patriotic. Think about it -- on a day-to-day basis, places without these deceptive gun-bans operate just fine.

After years in which we've been forced to defend assault, lethal capacity, accessibility and so on, it's time for us to have the moral high ground for a change. Think about what the antis will have to sound like to say they don't want any liability for murdered victims they had disarmed. They have to stand up for defenselessness. It's a good time for the Defenseless Victim Act.

* This phrase from a Cartridge Family song is used with permission.


Permission to reproduce or circulate this message is granted provided credit is included.

Alan Korwin
"We publish the gun laws."
4718 E. Cactus #440
Phoenix, AZ 85032
602-996-4020 Phone
602-494-0679 FAX

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Alan Korwin is the author of seven best-selling books on gun law, including the unabridged guide "Gun Laws of America--Every Federal Gun Law on the Books, with Plain English Summaries," and state gun guides for AZ, CA, FL, TX, VA. This paper is part of an ongoing series, click Position Papers on our home page, or write or call for copies.

"If you knew all your rights, you might demand them." --Steve Maniscalco

"After a shooting spree, they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn't do it." --William Burroughs