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Tennessee Legislature Extends Protections
to Landowners for Shooting Activities
on Their Land

land owner liability

A Tennessee attorney, Attorney, Jason A. Lee of Burrow Lee, PLLC, recently wrote an article on legislative changes in Tennessee that affect gun owners. Below is his article, reprinted with permission:

 

The 2015 Tennessee Legislature passed a new law extending protections to landowners for certain shooting activities performed on their land. Specifically, Public Chapter No. 53 was signed into law by Governor Bill Haslam on April 6, 2015 and it extended protections for certain activities including “sporting clays, shooting sports, and target shooting, including archery and shooting range activities”. Specifically, T.C.A. § 70-7-102 provides the following protections for landowners in Tennessee:

 

(a) The landowner, lessee, occupant, or any person in control of land or premises owes no duty of care to keep such land or premises safe for entry or use by others for such recreational activities as hunting, fishing, trapping, camping, water sports, white water rafting, canoeing, hiking, sightseeing, animal riding, bird watching, dog training, boating, caving, fruit and vegetable picking for the participant's own use, nature and historical studies and research, rock climbing, skeet and trap shooting, sporting clays, shooting sports, and target shooting, including archery and shooting range activities, skiing, off-road vehicle riding, and cutting or removing wood for the participant's own use, nor shall such landowner be required to give any warning of hazardous conditions, uses of, structures, or activities on such land or premises to any person entering on such land or premises for such purposes, except as provided in § 70-7-104.

 

(b) The landowner, lessee, occupant, or any person in control of land or premises owes no duty of care to keep such land or premises safe for entry or use by others for recreational noncommercial aircraft operations or recreational noncommercial ultra light vehicle operations on private airstrips except as to known hazards or defects and except as provided in § 70-7-104.

 

As you can see, this statute already provided significant protections to landowners and now those protections are expanded further (to sporting clays, shooting sports, and target shooting, including archery and shooting range activities). Additionally, T.C.A. § 70-7-103 was also amended to provide that if a landowner gives permission to another to perform these activities on their land, they are not extending any assurance that the premises is safe for such purpose. The entire T.C.A. § 70-7-103 provides the following:

 

Any landowner, lessee, occupant, or any person in control of the land or premises or such person's agent who gives permission to another person to hunt, fish, trap, camp, engage in water sports, participate in white water rafting or canoeing, hike, sightsee, ride animals, bird watch, train dogs, boat, cave, pick fruit and vegetables for the participant's own benefit, engage in nature and historical studies and research, climb rocks, shoot skeet and trap, engage in sporting clays, shooting sports, and target shooting, including archery and shooting range activities, ski, ride off-road vehicles, recreational noncommercial aircraft operations or recreational noncommercial ultra light vehicle operations on private airstrips, and cut and remove wood for the participant's own use upon such land or premises does not by giving such permission:

 

(1) Extend any assurance that the premises are safe for such purpose;
(2) Constitute the person to whom permission has been granted to legal status of an invitee to whom a duty of care is owed; or
(3) Assume responsibility for or incur liability for any injury to such person or purposely caused by any act of such person to whom permission has been granted except as provided in § 70-7-104.

 

These statutes are designed to protect Tennessee landowners in order to allow them to use their land for specific sporting purposes without incurring liability for those activities. There are certainly still circumstances when liability can be found in these situation, however these statutes provide a layer of protection for landowners in Tennessee for these activities.

 

Follow me on Twitter at @jasonalee for updates from the Tennessee Defense Litigation blog.

 

Original Blog Article Can Be Found Here.

 

2015 TCA Update Located Here.

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