A primary duty of the property manager is to ensure a safe home, workplace, or shopping area for residents, tenants, and their guests. You may believe that the best way to accomplish this duty is to restrict the possession of firearms on the property.
Consider the following:
- Over 310 million guns are available for sale or possessed by civilians in the U.S.
- Over 30,000 gun-related deaths and more than 70,000 injuries occur each year.
- Almost all states allow gun owners to carry concealed handguns after issuance of a permit.
Your ability to restrict the possession of firearms is dependent on state and local laws. When considering a ban of firearms on your property, be sure to follow these procedures.
- Check for state and local laws related to the ability to ban firearms on private property. Some laws differentiate between business property and private residences, including rentals. Others expressly forbid landlords from banning firearms.
- If laws require you to post signs notifying the public of the ban, make sure you follow specifications in the law. Some laws have very specific requirements for signage, down to verbiage, length and width, and position in relation to the door.
Establish a policy on how you and your staff will respond if someone does not comply with your ban. Some laws have requirements related to verbal indications of a ban. You will most likely want to call local police in instances where a person does not comply. In many cases, you can press charges for trespassing.
Consider lease language related to your firearms ban. Have an attorney recommend and review lease language that is clear and consistent with state and local laws.
- Also consult an attorney if state or local laws are unclear about your right to establish a firearms ban. The law may be open to interpretation, or there may be court rulings that further determine your ability to restrict guns in different parts of a property, including parking lots or facilities, common areas, and private spaces.
- If an outright ban is impossible, consider specifying that guns must be unloaded, locked away, and stored separately from ammunition.
- Remember to have an emergency response plan for gun violence at your property. Having a firearms ban does not guarantee that such an emergency, however unlikely, will not happen.
Consult local law enforcement about your firearms ban and any related actions. They know the law and can assess your policies.
Check out these resources for more information about gun laws and gun safety:
Department of Justice, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives at www.atf.gov
Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence firearms law database at www.smartgunlaws.org/gun-policy
National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) interactive map on state gun laws at www.nraila.org/gun-laws.aspx