Does an HOA assume any liability if it removes covenants related to

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Does an HOA assume any liability if it removes covenants related to

I own property in a development that has Covenants and Board of Directors. Some members want to vote to eliminate a covenant that reads No useof firearms, except for self-defense shall be permitted.

I have asked for details from the Board regarding the reasons, benefits, potential issues, etc. if we vote to approve elimination of this restriction. The Board has not responded. I am asking for any legal advice around this change, in particular, is any liability introduced by removing this covenant we have

private roads and common areas? And can a valid

Asked on April 14, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, the covenant does not provide any additional liability protection as is, not that any is needed: the HOA as a body, or other homeowners individually, are not liable for any shootings (accidental or intentional) on the property in any  event, any more than a landlord or store owner is liable for a third-party shooting on his premises, or a homeowner in a non-planned community is liable for her neighbor's shooting. Gun-based liability only accrues to those actually at fault (e.g. the shooter; or the parents of an underage or mentally incompetent shooter negligently allowed gun access), particularly as there is not only no general legal obligation or dtuy to prevent gun use or ownership by other persons, but as the 2nd amendment shows, individual gun ownership is part of our culture and legal system. So therefore, not only does the existing covenant not provide protection, but removing it will not therefore increase risk.


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