Tennessee Businesses that Prohibit Firearms Could Become Liable for the Safety of Handgun Permit Holders


Tennessee businesses that prohibit the possession of firearms on their property would be made liable for the safety and defense of individuals with handgun carry permits if legislation introduced by Sen. Dolores Gresham (R-Somerville) is passed by the State Assembly. The proposed legislation would additionally hold business owners responsible for the permit holder’s safety and defense “on any property the permit holder is required to traverse in order to travel to and from the location where the permit holder's firearm is stored.”

Senate Bill 1736 would amend the Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-17-1359 which authorizes individuals, corporations, business entities and local, state or federal government entities to prohibit the possession of weapons with posted notice on property owned, operated, or managed or under the control of the individuals or entities. The proposed legislation would impose liability for “the conduct of other invitees, trespassers, employees of the person or entity, vicious animals, wild animals, and defensible man-made and natural hazards.”

Specifically, Senate Bill 1736 states:

Any handgun carry permit holder who is injured, suffers bodily injury or death, incurs economic loss or expense, property damage or any other compensable loss as the result of conduct occurring on property that is posted pursuant to § 39-17-1359, shall have a cause of action against the person or entity posting. In addition to damages, the person shall be entitled to reasonable attorney fees, expert witness costs, and other costs necessary to bring the cause of action.

For more information on Senate Bill 1736 and its potential impact on Tennessee businesses, please contact James Weaver in Waller’s Government Relations practice at 615-244-6380.

The opinions expressed in this bulletin are intended for general guidance only. They are not intended as recommendations for specific situations. As always, readers should consult a qualified attorney for specific legal guidance.