Filed Under:Markets, Commercial Lines

Concealed Weapons Can Make for Risky Business

Many states have passed laws allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons such as guns, knives, etc. The laws may not clearly distinguish situations where a citizen should not carry a concealed weapon—and that is the danger for the employer. Bodily injury or death caused by a weapon wielded by an employee on company property can leave the employer open to lawsuits based on various theories, and the question of insurance coverage then arises.

An employer that allows customers on the business premises has to provide a reasonably safe environment. Customers invited to enter the premises for purposes connected with the business conducted there are known as business invitees. The duty owed an invitee by the owner of the premises is to exercise reasonable care to keep the premises reasonably safe and to warn of all concealed dangerous conditions. In a state with a concealed-weapon law, should the customer assume the sales clerk waiting on him or her is armed, or must the store post warnings? Even if the local informed citizen could be presumed to know of such laws, what about a customer from out of state? No easy answers exist.

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