MADISON, Wisconsin (October 27, 2011) – The new Wisconsin law that allows a person to carry a concealed hand gun if that person obtains a concealed carry weapons license, is forcing many businesses to make some important decisions.
Business and property owners may post signs that firearms (concealed or open) are not allowed on the premises. The signs must be at least 5-inches high x 7 inches wide and posted in conspicuous locations near all entrances to the building. The prohibition applies to customers, vendors, guests and employees. Violations are subject to a $1,000 forfeiture.
But the new law raises several questions about liabilities and insurance coverage if someone is injured by a concealed weapon brought onto the property. "Property owners or occupants who do not prohibit an individual from carrying a concealed weapon on their premises are immune from any liability arising from their decision," says Ron Von Haden, CIC, Executive Vice President of the Professional Insurance Agents of Wisconsin (PIAW). "Conversely, if a business prohibits concealed carry, it may be accepting some liability for the actions of customers and employees arising from the use of a concealed weapon."
If a business doesn’t prohibit concealed carry and an employee brings a weapon to work and that weapon falls on the floor, discharging and wounding a customer, the business owner is "immune from any liability arising out of its decision" under the law. However, if the business prohibits weapons, then it has no such immunity. So the customer could presumably sue the business for negligence in failing to enforce its no weapons policy.