A Waffle House employee loses job for firing her gun during a robbery

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

A Waffle House restaurant in Newman, Ga. was apparently robbed by three men last week. As of Monday, the police were still looking for the suspects. But one victim of the incident was a Waffle House employee named Heather Stanley who reportedly fired her gun in the air to scare the assailants away. Did she do the right thing? Waffle House didn’t think so. The incident cost Stanley her job.

Many business owners struggle to come up with fair policies addressing whether employees or customers are allowed to carry guns inside their premises – or whether to allow employees to defend themselves with a firearm. Stanley did not have her gun with her inside the Waffle House where she worked as a waitress. But, as reported by WSBTV, when another waitress was handed a note demanding money by three men who entered the restaurant at 2:30 a.m., Stanley ran to her car and fired her weapon once in the air as the three men ran to their cars.

“She made it known she was ready to defend herself,” a customer said in the report.

Stanley, a mother of two, said she was trying to protect the store and her co-workers. “I didn’t know if they had guns,” she told WSBTV. “I didn’t know if they were going to their vehicle to get another one and could come back and try to get to the safe, so my instinct was to go to my car and get the gun.”

Although Georgia law states that it’s a misdemeanor to “fire a gun with 50 yards of a public highway or street without legal justification for doing so” or even “discharge a firearm on private property without the approval of the property owner,” and despite neighbors’ concerns that the bullet could’ve landed anywhere, it doesn’t appear that Stanley will be facing charges.

Waffle House said it doesn’t comment on such matters. Would your decision be the same?

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