Do Private Establishments and Public Venues Need Greater Security?

What is the responsibility of the proprietor public or private to protect and provide for the safety of its patrons?? Unfortunately, the awareness and reality of these crazy, tragic events is real and seems to be increasing.

On November 2, a Tallahassee hot yoga studio was attacked when an armed man opened fire inside. The gunman ended up shooting six people, pistol-whipping a seventh and then committed suicide.

An idea is added protection in shooting-prone public venues. Since the yoga studio shooting, Tallahassee business owners have begun to discuss increasing security measures at their facilities. While some of these proprietors openly admit that they are unsure of how to best prepare for an active shooter situation, others are considering installing metal detectors at their facility, despite being hesitant about requiring everyone who walks in to be searched.

Less than a week after the yoga studio shooting, another gunman killed 12 people at a country-music bar in California. The bar, Borderline Bar and Grill, actually had a security guard stationed at the entrance of the building at the time; unfortunately, however, the guard was one of the shooter’s first victims of the night. Another armed security guard was similarly ineffective at preventing the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting that left 49 dead in Orlando. And a third armed officer failed to confront the shooter during the February 2018 attack on a Florida high school that left 17 students and staff members dead.

A lack of a clear-cut solution should not reduce the accountability that proprietors have in keeping their visitors safe. One of the confirmed victims of the recent Borderline Bar shooting was 27-year old Telemachus Orfanos, who had previously survived the October 2017 Las Vegas shooting. The Las Vegas shooting, which to this day is the deadliest mass shooting committed by an individual in U.S. history, left 58 people dead and over 500 injured when a gunman opened fired from the 32nd floor of a nearby hotel. Since then, there have been over 2,500 lawsuits filed or threatened to be filed against MGM Resorts International, the proprietor of the Las Vegas hotel that the shooter carried out the attack in. Individuals are being harmed and killed, and to ignore potential security deficits could constitute negligence on the part of the property owner.

If you or someone you know has been injured as a result of lack of security at a public venue or private premises (restaurant, bar, apartment building), please contact one of the experienced attorneys at Baron, Herskowitz, and Cohen to understand your legal rights. To contact us for a free and confidential legal consultation, call (305) 670-0101 or email

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