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Issues regarding landlords, tenants and firearm laws

With the fact that gun laws are constantly changing, some of which allow people to freely exercise their open-carry rights, Georgia landlords and their tenants might be wondering about liability issues if a gun-related accident or other incident occurs on their property. Many states allow gun owners the right to openly carry their gun so it can be clearly seen by anyone. While a person is legally allowed to carry concealed firearms in all states and the District of Columbia, several states do not allow open carry of a firearm in any way.

However, when it comes to property owners, such as commercial landlords, their business is vulnerable to lawsuits if a firearm, brought onto the property by a visitor or employee, discharges and injures or kills a tenant. Because of certain gun-related premises liability issues, landlords should use discretion regarding their firearms policy decisions.

To protect themselves from liability risks, commercial landlords and their tenants can check their municipal, city and state laws concerning open carry and concealed carry. While several states permit private business owners to prohibit guns from their property, other jurisdictions do not allow this. In some states, the law protects property owners and occupiers from liability if the property owner allows firearms on its property. On the other hand, by banning weapons from their premises, the property owner or tenant may be required to enforce the ban because of the standard of care theory.

Commercial property owners must ensure their property is kept free from dangers that could injure tenants and guests. Those who were injured in a preventable accident due to a negligent landlord might wish to meet with an attorney in order to determine how to proceed.

Source: National Law Review, "The New Wild West: Considerations for Commercial Landlords and Tenants in the Era of Open and Concealed Carry of Firearms", Chris Jenny, Sept. 30, 2016

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