It seems that in today’s hyper-litigious environment, even an unarmed citizen who stops an armed criminal can find himself in trouble.
One of the points Second Amendment supporters use when arguing against restrictive gun laws is that criminals will always find a way to get a gun. Case in point: In Tallahassee, Fla., a customer tried to steal a handgun and other items from a sporting goods store. The would-be thief was stopped before he got out of the store after another employee tackled him near the door.
But here’s the kicker. The manager who caught the perpetrator was fired for manhandling a “customer”—though can someone who doesn’t intend to pay for a product really be called a customer?
And how does the fact that the suspect made known his intentions to kill someone with the stolen gun come into play? Well, it doesn’t, according to upper management at the retail company. The thin justification for their stance is that no one really knew the thief had evil intentions until he made the admissions in the store office after he was caught.
Now, for those who say the man isn’t really a criminal because he hasn’t been found guilty, well, maybe not. But considering that he is also charged with stealing a couple of guns from a nearby pawn shop just hours earlier, it seems to add to the assertion that he’s not exactly a law-abiding citizen.
The former sporting goods employee has hired a lawyer and plans to sue for wrongful termination.
“This is not something that happens for [my client] in his everyday life,” attorney Ryan Hobbs told a Tallahassee Democrat reporter. “I think he was thinking there is a man running out of the store with a gun in his hand with his coworkers following from the firearm area screaming ‘Stop that man.’ Something had to be done and he was the one that was going to do it.”
Marion P. Hammer, a former NRA president and head its Florida state affiliate, said the move by the big box retailer was “insanity,” and that the unarmed citizen should be celebrated for stopping a criminal before he could commit more crimes.