November 4, 2022
How Can Venues Keep Visitors Safe From Shootings?
Georgia has one of the highest rates of gun violence in the country. With 1,695 gun deaths in 2019, the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence reports that Georgia has the 15th highest rate of gun violence death in the entire country. Local venues in Atlanta have a responsibility to their patrons to do everything within their power to limit the risk of shootings.
So how can venues keep visitors safe from shootings? Venue owners and those in charge of security should create a plan to lower the risk of shootings. That plan should encompass all of the following, and any additional precautions required to make a venue as safe as possible.
If, for any reason, you are at a venue that has failed to implement proper security and were injured in a shooting, as a result, contact our law offices as soon as possible to schedule a free consultation.
Clearly Communicate Weapon Bans
Lawful weapons carriers are already prevented from carrying their firearms in a variety of places, including:
- K-12 school buildings and properties
- Courthouses, jails, and prisons
- Places of worship (unless the venue chooses to allow firearms)
- State mental health facilities
- Beyond airport security screening checkpoints
- Nuclear power facilities
Venues that are privately owned or otherwise controlled through a licensing agreement, rental agreement, contract, or lease also have the power to prohibit entry to anyone who is in possession of a firearm.
If a venue chooses to prohibit weapons (including guns), clearly communicate this expectation to patrons, customers, and other visitors. In advertisements for events, include language that conveys it is a weapons-free event. State what will happen if a patron is found to be in possession of a firearm or other weapon while attending the event.
Venues should put up signs that clearly states the policy against firearms. If a venue regularly services customers who speak multiple languages, it should put up signs in those languages as well. These signs should include simple imagery that will help communicate this expectation to anyone who has trouble reading or who cannot understand the language the sign is printed in.
Conduct Adequate Security Screening
Security screenings should be thorough enough to protect everyone who visits a venue from becoming the victim of a shooting. Atlanta is home to a wide variety of bars, restaurants, museums, convention centers, and more, so no two venues will have the exact same security screening needs. It is up to every venue to determine what level of security screening is most appropriate for and then implement it.
The following are possible security screening methods that can be implemented to keep patrons safe:
- Walk through or handheld metal detectors
- A physical search of all bags
- Verification of all tickets
Restricting patrons from bringing large and opaque bags is also an effective way to make the security screen process flow more smoothly and efficiently. A venue can also alert patrons to security screening requirements by having them check a box when purchasing tickets, posting about it on social media, and sending email and text message reminders. Anyone who refuses to comply with the security screenings should be denied entrance to the venue.
Security screenings should not just be a show to make patrons feel safer. However, the screening process may be little more than an elaborate show without properly trained staff to run the operation.
Properly Train Security Personnel
All venue personnel (not just security workers) should have a basic understanding of the security screening guidelines and proper procedures. Security personnel, in particular, should undergo more vigorous training specific to their job titles.
Security training should never be treated as “once and done.” Instead, venues should regularly provide additional on-the-job training to security personnel, ensuring that they are refreshed on all procedures related to:
- Violent patrons
- Violent attacks
- Gun violence
Venues should additionally train staff on how to handle visitors who turn violent if they are denied access to the facility. Employers should focus teaching on de-escalation tactics, but should also caution security personnel to call 911 for backup if necessary.
If a venue does not fully train new hires or fails to provide continual training, the owners could be held liable if anyone is injured due to lax security practices.
Hire Sufficient Security Personnel
Even with regular and ongoing training, security personnel cannot fulfill their job duties if they do not have adequate staffing numbers. Venues that routinely understaff their security force should not be surprised when acts of violence such as shootings occur. Factors that a venue must consider when determining how many security personnel are necessary include:
- The number of entrances and exits
- The extent of security screenings
- The venue’s capacity
If a venue routinely has problems with security failings or acts of violence that current personnel are unable to address or keep in check, it is very likely a sign that their current security staffing is insufficient.
What Happens When Venues Don’t Keep Visitors Safe From Shootings?
When venues fail to take proactive steps to protect visitors from shooters, serious injuries and even death can occur. A 2020 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that there are approximately 329 nonfatal gun injuries every day, adding up to about 120,232 injuries a year. For every two nonfatal gun injuries, there is one fatality.
Bey & Associates Is Here for Atlanta
A shooting is virtually always a traumatizing event. Even those who do not suffer physical injuries may never be the same again, carrying the scars of that day with them for the rest of their lives. At Bey & Associates, our negligent security lawyers are prepared to meet with those who have been injured or who have lost loved ones in a shooting that should have never been allowed to happen.
If a venue did not keep visitors safe from shootings, it is our job to hold them responsible for the damages they’ve caused you and your family to suffer. Contact us today to learn more about your legal rights in a free consultation.