2017 Regular Session
To: Judiciary A
By: Representative Criswell
AN ACT TO PROVIDE THAT ANY PERSON WHO OWNS A FIREARM IS AUTHORIZED TO CARRY A FIREARM OR NOT PROHIBITED FROM CARRYING A FIREARM AND WHO IS INJURED, SUFFERS BODILY INJURY OR DEATH, INCURS ECONOMIC LOSS OR EXPENSE, PROPERTY DAMAGE OR ANY OTHER COMPENSABLE LOSS AS THE RESULT OF CONDUCT OCCURRING ON PROPERTY WITH A WRITTEN NOTICE THAT PROHIBITS FIREARMS, SHALL HAVE A CAUSE OF ACTION AGAINST THE PERSON OR ENTITY THAT EXERCISES CONTROL OVER THE PROPERTY ON WHICH SUCH WRITTEN NOTICE WAS POSTED; TO PROVIDE A STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR SUCH CAUSE OF ACTION; TO PROVIDE THE CONDITIONS TO PREVAIL IN SUCH A CAUSE OF ACTION; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. (1) (a) It is the intent of this section to balance the right of self-defense of a person who is authorized to carry a firearm or a person who is not prohibited from carrying a firearm with the right of a property owner or entity that controls property to exercise control of the property.
(b) Any person or entity who elects to prohibit the carrying of firearms by a person who is authorized to carry a firearm or a person who is not prohibited from carrying a firearm shall assume absolute custodial responsibility for the safety and defense of such unarmed person while the person is located on the posted property.
(c) The responsibility of the person or entity posting for the safety and defense of any person who is authorized to carry a firearm or any person who is not prohibited from carrying a firearm shall extend to the conduct of other invitees, trespassers, employees of the person or entity, vicious animals, wild animals, and defensible man-made and natural hazards.
(2) Any person who owns a firearm, is authorized to carry a firearm or who is not prohibited from carrying a firearm and who is injured, suffers bodily injury or death, incurs economic loss or expense, property damage or any other compensable loss as the result of conduct occurring on property with a written notice that prohibits firearms, shall have a cause of action against the person or entity that exercises control over the property on which the written notice was posted. In addition to any other damages authorized by law, the person shall be entitled to reasonable attorney fees, expert witness costs, and other costs necessary to bring the cause of action. For purposes of this section, the term "firearm" means a gun, stun gun, pistol, revolver or other firearm authorized by state or federal law.
(3) The statute of limitations for such an action shall be two (2) years from the date of the occurrence of the conduct which gave rise to any damages authorized by this act.
(4) Any notice or signage that prohibits firearms as provided in subsection (2) of this section, shall also contain language stating that any person who is authorized to carry a firearm or who is not prohibited from carrying a firearm on the posted property is under the custodial responsibility of the posting person or entity. Failure of a sign to provide the information required by this subsection does not reduce liability for the person who exercises control over the property.
(5) To prevail in an action brought under this section, the plaintiff must show by a preponderance of the evidence that:
(a) The plaintiff owned a firearm, was authorized to carry a firearm or was not prohibited from carrying a firearm at the time of the incident giving rise to the action;
(b) The plaintiff did not carry the firearm on the property where the incident occurred because of the written notice described in this act;
(c) The injury, death, economic loss or expense, property damage or other compensable loss was caused as a result of the conduct that occurred on the property and could have been avoided if the plaintiff was authorized to carry their firearm onto the property; and
(d) The person or entity exercising control over the property was not required by state or federal law to post the notice, but posted the notice by choice of the defendant.
(6) This section shall be liberally construed to effectuate its purpose.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2017.