You just flunked your first year of law school. The question is whether the owner acted reasonably in hanging a loaded rifle on the wall in plain sight in decorative fashion, knowing that a large segment of the population is too stupid to get out of bed in the morning (as evidenced by the results of the last election). This is no different than storing a can of Drano next to the salt box in the food pantry: Reasonable people recognize the potential for stupidity and take reasonable steps to prevent injury to invited guests. That means storing dangerous chemicals out-of-sight in a safe location with other chemicals and it means removong the ammunition from a firearm hung in plain site as a decorative object (or at least placing a warning sign on the gun).
And you just flunked law, life and common sense.
Find in Blackstone where it states (in common law) that you are responsible for somebody’s stupidity or reckless act.
My 1915, Blackstone Second Edition, has no reference. Does yours? If you can find it, please let me know. Always trying to learn.
“knowing that a large segment of the population is too stupid to get out of bed in the morning” As true as that may be, that is irrelevant. Are we are to assign to each and every person the responsibility to assess and moderate, control their perceived level of common sense. . .at all times?
Anyway, using your scenario (”This is no different than storing a can of Drano next to the salt box in the food pantry,” that is a non-sequiter and irrelevant.
Consider: Are we to take visitors in our home on a tour, pointing out, “look, that is an electrical socket, don’t be putting a steel knife in there, and over there, that is my refrigerator, a big sucker, don’t try and climb on top as you might fall down, and over there is my computer, it locks up sometimes but don’t pull it apart because you might get a shock, and that over there, is a squirt gun-—you can tell by the plastic and color-—and that is a firearm. . .don’t confuse the two. . . .etc. At what point does the the silliness stop?
Storing a real firearm amongst toy guns and you might have a point, but in this case, he hung it up on the wall—out of normal, reasonable reach (I assume).
Decorative or not, it was a stand-alone item that some idiot
a) Did not take reasonable steps to verify for himself the firearm was real or not
b) Did not take reasonable steps to check to see if it was loaed when HE actively took the firearm off the wall
c) Played with it
d) Recklessly pointed it at the (soon to be) injured party
e) AND pulled the trigger.
The above are all conscious acts on the part of the idiot and in no way reflect irresponsible behavior on the part of the firearm owner.
A gun is a weapon. Because some people are “too stupid to get out of bed in the morning” doesn’t shift responsibility to the firearm owner. In this case, where the person had to actively stake many deliberate steps in order to inflict the injury, the responsibility is the shooters, alone, and no one else.
Now, if he left the firearm on the floor with a 5-yr old running around and the 5-yr old shot someone, then you might have a point. But the guy was an adult and he acted irresponsibility, like a 5-yr old, perhaps, and he should be the responsible party. Say. . .what about the firearm manufacturer, perhaps they should be held liable because they did not design the weapon to have safety catches that only the owner would know about.
Let’s play with that idea a second. Suppose it had been a sword hung on the wall, instead of a gun. Suppose the defendant took the sword down and ‘playfully’ inflicted a mortal wound. Is the property owner liable for the defendant’s actions?