Legislative committee members defeated a bill that would have held schools and other public entities liable for civil damages for prohibiting firearm possession on their property.
Senate Bill 89, which would have made public entity liable for civil damages resulting from injury caused by a crime of violence on their property if they prohibit firearms, lost on a 4-3 vote by Senate Judiciary committee members at Tuesday’s (1/31) meeting.
ASBSD opposed the bill.
ASBSD Lobbyist Dick Tieszen testified the bill would put public school districts in “an impossible situation” because they would stand to lose their share of approximately $141 million in federal funding – as federal law prohibits schools from permitting firearms on their campus – for following the proposed provisions of SB 89, but liable in a lawsuit, which could result in major financial fines, if they did not.
Sen. Stace Nelson, the bill’s prime sponsor, cited “magical gun free zones are not magical” because of the firearm prohibition.
Tieszen noted “Senate Bill 89 ignores any need whatsoever for there to be a cause and effect relationship” because the assumption is made by the bill that possession of a firearm would prevent the included violent crimes.
The bill did not possess any liability exclusion clauses for public entities in a situation in which they could not be held culpable for a violent crime.
“This is a strict liability. It doesn’t hold any kind of standard,” Sen. Arthur Rusch said. “It’s an absolute, strict liability.”
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