Friday, October 30, 2009

Tennessee Landlords Can Ban Guns

Tennessee State Representative Tony Shipley (R) had a landlord who would not allow him to have guns in his apartment. Where the average Tennessean would either not accept the lease provision and rent elsewhere, or have to take the landlord to Court to fight the landlord's position, Shipley, as a State Representative did something that neither you or I can do. He asked the State Attorney General for a formal, written opinion.

Shipley asked the State Attorney General if a landlord can prohibit a tenant from having guns in his apartment.

He was stunned when the Attorney General's opinion said, “A landlord can prohibit tenants, including those with handgun permits, from possessing firearms within the leased premises. Such a prohibition can be imposed through a clause in the lease.“

There was a totally opposite Court ruling in San Francisco recently, when the city wrote leases banning guns from inside tenement apartments owned by the city. The Court struck down the city's prohibition against its tenants having guns in their leased city owned apartments.

The Tennessee opinion does raise other questions about the Bill of Rights. Can a landlord stop a tenant from exercising his freedom of religion by praying in his apartment? Can a landlord tell a tenant what he can and cannot read or write in his apartment? Can a landlord enter a tenant's apartment under lease provisions to look for guns. What other guaranteed Bill of Rights freedoms can a landlord ban?

The Opinion also said that a landlord can impose a ban through a clause in the lease, or in in parts of the state where the state's Uniform Landlord and Tenant Act applies, by including the ban as a rule for governing the use of property by all tenants. The Attorney General also said that the landlord doesn't have to post signs warning that firearms are prohibited for the ban to have legal effect in civil courts. However, a the tenant couldn't be prosecuted under criminal laws unless signs are posted.

Interestingly enough, the Bill of Rights generally applies only to actions by the Government and the States when incorporated to them by the 10th Amendment, such as the warrant requirement for police searches, and not to actions by private individuals, and generally not to landlord tenant leases.

Unlike some states such as Michigan, where an Attorney General's opinion is legally binding, the Tennessee Attorney General's legal opinion does not have any legal weight, and is unenforceable.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

fuck you val kilmer