Implications of open carry for Maryland landlords and tenants

In a public setting, the sight of a person openly carrying a gun may incite panic. However, in some jurisdictions, the right to openly carry is protected by law. While most who carry a gun don't plan to cause harm to anyone, it is possible for a gun to accidentally go off. It is also possible that an individual with a gun does intend to harm people with that weapon.

Therefore, landlords and retail tenants should be aware that they could be exposed to liability if an employee or invitee injures another person. In some instances, a business may be allowed to ban guns on the premises or may be covered by state law like in Wisconsin. Those who run a bar or any other establishment that may serve alcohol may be required by duty to ban guns.

If a business is going to restrict firearms from the premises, there must generally be a sign notifying customers or others to that effect. There may also be guidelines as to how such a sign must be written and where it may be posted. In Texas, it is necessary to write in both English and Spanish. Finally, business owners should talk to their landlords or to their insurance companies to find out what they are covered for if someone is hurt or killed by a firearm.

If an individual is hurt by a gun or because of any other dangerous conditions, it may be possible to take legal action against the owner of the premises. An attorney may be able to establish that owner negligence created a hazardous condition for the victim.

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