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Did You Know The Omaha Mall Was A "Gun-Free Zone"?

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Did You Know The Omaha Mall Was A "Gun-Free Zone"?
I'm sure that will provide great comfort to the relatives of all the people who thought they were picking out their Christmas presents, not lining up to be fitted for coffins. From the FoxNews story by John R. Lott, Jr.:

Nebraska allows people to carry permitted concealed handguns, but it allows property owners, such as the Westroads Mall, to post signs banning permit holders from legally carrying guns on their property.

The same was true for the attack at the Trolley Square Mall in Utah in February (a copy of the sign at the mall can be seen here). But again the media coverage ignored this fact. Possibly the ban there was even more noteworthy because the off-duty police officer who stopped the attack fortunately violated the ban by taking his gun in with him when he went shopping.

Yet even then, the officer "was at the opposite end and on a different floor of the convoluted Trolley Square complex when the shooting began. By the time he became aware of the shooting and managed to track down and confront Talovic [the killer], three minutes had elapsed."

There are plenty of cases every year where permit holders stop what would have been multiple victim shootings every year, but they rarely receive any news coverage. Take a case this year in Memphis, where WBIR-TV reported a gunman started "firing a pistol beside a busy city street" and was stopped by two permit holders before anyone was harmed.

When will part of the media coverage on these multiple-victim public shootings be whether guns were banned where the attack occurred? While the media has begun to cover whether teachers can have guns at school or the almost 8,000 college students across the country who protested gun-free zones on their campuses, the media haven’t started checking what are the rules where these attacks occur.

Instapundit makes a great point:

It seems to me that we've reached the point at which a facility that bans firearms, making its patrons unable to defend themselves, should be subject to lawsuit for its failure to protect them. The pattern of mass shootings in "gun free" zones is well-established at this point, and I don't see why places that take the affirmative step of forcing their law-abiding patrons to go unarmed should get off scot-free.

UPDATE: In the comments, Nancy Nall asked a question:

I thought you were a libertarian, Amy. (I thought Instapundit was, too.) Just as you're free to disapprove of a yogurt shop in your neighborhood by standing on the sidewalk and shooting pictures through the window, why aren't gun advocates free to disapprove of gun-free malls by shopping elsewhere?

I e-mailed Instapundit (Glenn Reynolds), who wrote me that he responded in a post. Here it is:

MY EARLIER POST ON liability for places that ban guns led to some objections: Malls are private property, so why can't the owners exclude guns if they like?

Well, malls are only sort of private property. You can, for example, exclude people from your home because you don't like their race or religion; mall owners can't do that because it's against public policy, and a mall is a place of public accommodation. In addition, business owners generally take on a higher duty of care for customers on their premises, including a duty to protect them from the violent acts of third parties if those acts are reasonably foreseeable. The question is, given the tendency of mass shootings to occur in places where guns are banned, and given that gun bans take away customers' ability to defend themselves -- and other customers -- does this result in liability of shopping malls when such shootings occur? Or, at least, produce a duty to have more armed security than they otherwise would have (the Omaha mall appears to have had very little) in order to make up for the increased insecurity created by the gun ban? The question isn't open and shut, but it seems to me to be ripe for litigation.