Skip to comments.Keep Your Guns Locked Up or Face Lawsuits(VT)
Posted on 12/06/2012 9:33:50 AM PST by marktwain
If you dont lock up your guns or at least keep them unloaded when you have guests, you could be sued when something goes wrong.
One Vermont family is finding out just how horribly wrong things can go: They are being sued for wrongful death in the wake of an accidental shooting between two house guests, which left one of them dead. The suit alleges that the family was negligent, because the weapon involved in the incident was loaded, unsecured and belonged to a family member.
Jeffrey Charbonneau, 24, and his friend Nick Bell, 25, ran into their friend Jim Goodwin at dinner on the night before Thanksgiving 2010. Because their homes were crowded with family members in for the holiday, Jim invited the two friends to stay at his familys house for the night while his parents and brother were away with family.
The next morning, Bell came into the room where Charbonneau was sleeping to wake him up and get going back to their own families for Thanksgiving. The bedroom belonged to Goodwins brother, Charlie, an avid hunter. Bell found what turned out to be a loaded .22-caliber semi-automatic rifle with no safety engaged hanging on the wall and, in what he likely meant to be a joke, Bell walked around Charbonneaus bed holding the gun. It discharged, and a bullet entered Charbonneaus heart from his side, killing him almost instantly.
Bell pled no contest in May to the felony of manslaughter, and to the misdemeanors of assault with a weapon and reckless endangerment, according to a local news report. He was sentenced to a year in jail.
(Excerpt) Read more at blogs.lawyers.com ...
The second amendment is relevant because the Supreme Court has ruled that you have the right to have a loaded, unlocked gun in your house. If you can be sued for doing that, you no longer have that right.
Why anyone lives in VT I’ll never know.
However, don’t expect the Gun Control Nazi’s to change their minds over it.
Next you’ll be liable if a robber accidentally shoots himself with your gun in your house while robbing it.
The 2d Amendment does not protect a homeowner from their own negligence, this case has nothing to do with the right to bear arms. Any gun owner can be and will likely be sued if someone is injured or killed by unsafe use of a firearm. Plus, it’s just a damn stupid thing to do.
Sounds like theft, unauthorized appropriation of someone else’s property. Plus assumption of risk, playing with firearm without checking to see if safety is engaged or it is loaded.
How is this negligence, though. I understand if it’s a kid, or something. But doesn’t a sane adult know better than to play with a gun? Why isn’t doing so, especially without permission, an assumption of risk?
Only partly true. The stupid thing was having a loaded .22 rifle hanging on the wall.
If it is a handgun meant for home defense and is unlocked, loaded and hidden in a place only accessible to the owner then that is quite a different thing than stupid. IMO.
Guns have taken a front seat again recently for several reasons:
1) Sales records are being broke almost daily.
2) Talking heads are using recent events and violent crime to demonize tools.
3) An end run at the American Second Amendment is being prepared if not already in motion.
The media is making these stories front-page works to put guns at the front of the mind of the public. This way when Obama starts flapping his Marxist mouth about a need for gun control, he can point to the dearth of gun violence stories plastered across the front pages of the nation’s newsrags.
Make no mistake, guns are going to be front and center in politics at some point in the next 4 years. When Congress and the Senate pass a gun ban bill akin to Obamacare, utilizing archaic and unconstitutional procedural maneuvers, make no mistake that the public will NOT be slinking back in their armchairs to take it up the tailpipe. This time, it’s personal.
Thus the adage: "ALL guns are loaded."
I would bet that the owner of this particular rifle had removed the magazine and/or emptied all of the rounds out of the feed tube without checking the chamber.
That said, the gun did not jump off of the wall all by itself, nor did it pull its own trigger. "Negligent discharge of a firearm" is just that.
The fault is with the perp, not the owner and not the firearm.
I share your concerns about about 2nd Amendment issues, however, we shouldn’t be making this out to be something more than it really is. It’s a premises liability case, pure and simple. It’s no different than if somebody trespasses on your property and drowns in your pool. You’re going to get sued. I don’t like it; I don’t agree with it but it’s just the way it is.
At least, as far as I know, Vermont doesn’t have stupid and restrictive laws than mandate locking up firearms or face a criminal penalty. What you do with your guns is up to you.
There is a big difference between liability for inherently dangerous situations, such as slip and fall when the homeowner knew it existed, that it was dangerous, but did nothing to prevent it; and a situation where a guest created a deadly situation where none had existed before.
For example, if two guests walk into your kitchen, then one removes a butcher knife from its holder, spins around and unintentionally stabs the other person; importantly, having intended to “prank” them by pretending to stab them; the homeowner is nowhere at fault.
It fails in two regards, that the homeowner is not at fault, and the actual shooter or stabber is at fault.
Yes, a knife is an inherently dangerous tool to use, and the homeowner knew this, and did nothing to mitigate its functional use as a knife. This changes nothing.
The same with a gun.
Last night Beckel went postal on The Five when someone noted that the FBI claims 2.5M people a year save themselves with their guns. Liberals will never, ever accept the truth. Gun-grabbing is a Religion of the Left, impervious to fact and truth. The VT constitution allows all to have a firearm. This is how the loathsome left gets around that right. The biggest damage from The Kenyan’s 2012 reelection is four more years of his appointing communist judges.
Absolutely. Obama was able to do what no socialist president before him had done: universal healthcare.
The next item on his legacy agenda will be abolition of the second amendment.
When Congress and the Senate pass a gun ban bill akin to Obamacare,utilizing archaic and unconstitutional procedural maneuvers,make no mistake that the public will NOT be slinking back in their armchairs to take it up the tailpipe.
Yes, they will.
You sir have obviously never had skunks and other vermin in your yard.
“No one should be liable for the criminal actions of another person.”
So, you think that the parents in the following case should not be held liable?
I believe it does, it is my right and that person handled my property without asking.
If he had stolen your car from the garage went to town and got drunk and killed someone are you liable?
Does he have permission to access your safe and take your cash?
Can he molest your kids... Being a guest in a home does not give you cart blanche.
I don't believe that the SCOTUS has ever said that. Please provide the case citation and specific quote. If I am wrong, I'll say so.
Actually, I have.....every Summer. I do nothing about them except scan the area before letting the dog out.
I do nothing because trapping them means disposal or release (Hav-a-Hart) which gets you very stink-a-fied.
Shooting them means you have created a niche as well.
You must first get rid of the food supply in your yard. In my case it is Japanese Beetle grubs. I have been trying for years to do that with limited success.
Other than that...just like confrontations while carrying concealed, avoidance is the best policy.
Vermont used to be a beautiful place. Now it is overrun with the maggot infested dope heads.
The skiing used to be great. Now it sucks, not so much for the snow but for the retards who hang out at every trail intersection and smoke weed and chat up the ski bunnies.