A Memphis, Tenn., business owner is under fire and may lose his lease after he chased three robbers from his store with a 9 mm handgun – all because his cookie shop is located in a mall with a "no firearms" policy.
Police are still looking for the thieves who stole $45 from a cash register in the Southland Mall Cookie Bakery on Aug. 7. After the men made off with the money, the store owner chased them into the parking lot and fired three warning shots.
According to reports, the gun was legally owned and there were no injuries.
Thirteen security guards work at the mall and the Memphis Police Department’s South Precinct is located nearby. However, in 2010, one security guard – a former Marine – was shot and killed by a gang member at the mall as he tried to break up a fight. State prosecutor Ray Lepone said he "was brutally murdered in cold blood in broad daylight in front of women and children."
After the shooting, the mall instituted a strict no firearms policy, even for security guards. The mall posts warnings on its doors indicating no guns are allowed on the premises.
Memphis City Council member Harold Collins told WHBQ-TV even though the store owner has the right to protect his property, he didn't exercise good judgment.
"Do you fault him for exercising that kind of judgment? Of course you do," he said. "There ought to be penalties for that. I'm hoping that [there] will be."
Collins warned other business owners, "Don't make the kind of decision this proprietor did. That will only get you locked up or cause you to lose your business."
According to reports, mall management has not yet indicated whether the business owner will be permitted to keep his lease.