Liability for guns left in cars?
This is a discussion on Liability for guns left in cars? within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; If while carrying concealed you need to access a restricted building you might have a need to lock your carry gun in your car.
December 17th, 2008 05:58 PM
Liability for guns left in cars?
If while carrying concealed you need to access a restricted building you might have a need to lock your carry gun in your car.
After reading about alot of places that have tried to go after home owners that have had guns stolen I wonder about any liability you might be in?
I purchased a Center of Mass safe but i'm still worried. What am I opening myself up to? Lets say little johnny is on his way to work his third shift after school to support his entire family. After helping an old lady across the street and helping clean up the church he walks by my parked and locked car.
Due to the fact that I carelessly left my handgun inside the locked car inside a locked box cabled to my seat he is forced to borrow my car. Then because the gun jumps out from under the seat and opens the box on its own, hes forced to rob someone and take their life.
How much trouble am I in?
December 17th, 2008 06:05 PM
Your risk is similar to the risk you assume in a SD situation. It depends on the prosecutor, the community standards and if the prosecutor is facing a stiff reelection battle. And you are at risk of being sued by the family of anyone harmed. This is the business we have chosen. So be it.
Also, there are now laws being proposed (or maybe already passed) to make you suffer severe penalties if you lose your firearm and fail to report it within 24 hours. How many of us check our inventory every 24 hours to stay compliant with such a law?
December 17th, 2008 06:48 PM
I'd heard of criminals waiting in parking lots of buildings they know prohibit a CCW. They stalk the lot for signs of those who return to their vehicles to "drop" their piece so they can break in and steal it.......
I will not leave in my truck anymore after learning this. In the summer I am going to install a gun safe in my truck that will bolt to the frame, so they will have to steal the entire truck than and probably will just move on to easier targets instead.
December 17th, 2008 07:01 PM
December 17th, 2008 10:35 PM
If you take reasonable and prudent measures to secure your weapon the liability is nil.
December 17th, 2008 11:47 PM
the big question is what is "reasonable" / "prudent". In the end, it depends on case law, and you probably don't want to be the test case.
Originally Posted by Yoda
In my opinion:
- gun left in plain sight... you are "done"
- gun left in an unlocked glove box... probably not enough
- gun left in a locked trunk ... maybe fine
- gun left in a locked gun safe ... you are good
I have never heard of a case like that.
I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend. (Thomas Jefferson)
December 18th, 2008 04:06 PM
Reasonable and prudent actions that an ordinary citizen would take, they will vary with the jury. Case law would not decide liability, the jury does that. Your opinions are probably pretty accurate.
If in an unlocked glove box but inside of a locked vehicle the owner would have a reasonable expectation of security for the firearm if he had the keys under his control.
If someone steals your car and then commits a crime or gets drunk and causes a fatal accident you as the car owner would not be liable.
December 18th, 2008 06:25 PM
One thing to keep in mind, civil liability is only an issue if you own stuff. And if you own stuff you should probably carry substantial insurance.
I think the civil liability issue is something folks over worry about.
Does anyone actually know of case law in a shall issue state (not talking about IL, MA, NY, NJ) where someone was successfully sued when a gun was stolen from a residence or a vehicle; and the verdict upheld by an appeals court?
I'm not asking an idle question. It would be useful to know if such a thing has really happened. My intuition--which could be way off-- is that even as messed up as our courts sometimes appear to be, it ain't gonna happen.
December 18th, 2008 06:59 PM
I wouldn't be too worried about it. Same scenario, but they steal your car and use the tire iron to beat an old lady to death. Are you liable. No.
Originally Posted by mlr1m
If your weapon is secured in your car, and your car is locked, then subsequently stolen. Your going to report the theft of the car and the theft of the gun. You did what was reasonable to secure your property.
If you choose not to take the gun because you know you have to leave it in the car, hence you leave it at home. The guy breaks into your home instead of the your car and then commits the crime with the gun stolen out of your locked home are you responsible. No.
As far as not being able to report a stolen gun within 24 hours. Unless I am out of town, and the person feeding my animals fails to see that my house has been robbed, I don't understand how you can be missing a firearm and not know it. All of mine are either on me, or locked in a safe either at my house or at the office.
Just remember that shot placement is much more important with what you carry than how big a bang you get with each trigger pull.
Texas CHL Instructor
Texas Hunter Education Instructor
December 18th, 2008 09:32 PM
I take the magazine with me.
I doubt they are going to be carrying a spare on them for my gun.
December 18th, 2008 09:44 PM
Just remember insurance isn't only for those with net worth. So what if you don't own anything. You can be garnished.
Originally Posted by Hopyard
And don't forget to buy enough insurance. If you own a $400,000 house you should still swing at least a $1m policy. If you lose a lawsuit for $800,000 and you have a $400,000 policy and a $400,000 house you just lost your house.
Bring enough gun.
And I wholeheartedly agree... worry less. Be prepared, but worry less.
"Wise people learn when they can; fools learn when they must." - The Duke of Wellington
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