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Can a property owner be liable in a mass shooting?

On Behalf of | Aug 5, 2022 | Catastrophic Injuries |

Mass shootings, while major news stories are not common occurrences. These incidents can leave behind a wealth of suffering and loss. Survivors or the families of those who died in the incident may want to go after everyone they feel holds responsibility.

In some cases, this may include the owner of the property where the crime occurred. The Ohio Revised Code includes language in its wrongful death statute that explains when property owners could be liable.

General rule

In general, the law says you cannot file a wrongful death claim against a property owner for the death of your loved one in a mass shooting situation. However, as with any law, there are exceptions.


The law explains that the property owner is not liable for acts by someone who is not under the control of the owner or who leases the property. So, if the mass shooter is someone renting the property or an employee of the owner, that would open the door to the owner being liable. But if the shooter was some random person who entered the premises, then the owner is likely not liable.

In addition, the law allows victims to prove the owner was negligent in some way, which allowed for the death of their loved one. For example, if the shooter was able to get into a secured building due to a broken lock, the property owner could be liable due to not keeping the security features of the building in proper repair.

In short, if a property owner had no ability to stop or influence the shooter, then the law will not make that person liable.