November 9, 2011
Cullen, Erpenbach Seek Guidance on Concealed Carry Law
Sen. Tim Cullen (D-Janesville) and Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) have asked Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen for a formal opinion on liability for property owners relating to Wisconsin’s concealed carry law.
“The immunity provisions in this law are counterintuitive and illogical, not to mention outrageous,” Cullen said. “It seems to me that if a property owner chooses to allow concealed weapons on their premises, they should have to take extra precautious to ensure the safety of people on the premises. But the statute gives blanket immunity to property owners who allow concealed weapons. Those who decide to prohibit concealed weapons may still be liable for damages related to shootings. To what extent they may be held liable is unclear, so we have asked the Attorney General for guidance.”
“The law creates immunity for one group of people – those who choose to allow concealed weapons,” Erpenbach said. “We are asking whether the law increases the liability for the other group of people – those who choose to prohibit concealed weapons. Business owners in our districts are pleading for guidance.”
“There could be a situation where a business owner posted a ‘no weapons’ sign but a customer carried in a weapon anyway and the gun went off accidentally and shot another customer,” Cullen said. “Could the business owner be held liable for not doing a pat-down search of customers? The law is silent on liability of those who prohibit concealed weapons.”
“On the flip side, the law explicitly gives immunity to property owners who allow concealed weapons,” Erpenbach said. “Instead of requiring property owners to take extra precautions to ensure the safety of people on the premises, the law says, ‘Don’t you worry about a thing.’”