Should shoplifting be punishable by death? Maybe, if one Michigan woman has any say.
Police in a Detroit suburb have not announced whether they will charge a 47-year-old woman after she fired multiple shots at alleged shoplifters in a Home Depot parking lot. When she spotted a store security guard pursuing two men from the store, the woman pulled a 9mm handgun and opened fire on the suspects as they fled in an SUV.
The shooting took place around 2 p.m. Tuesday, The Detroit Free Press reports, at a Home Depot in a popular retail area. Police say the woman is cooperating with their investigation, but they have yet to decide whether she is subject to criminal charges.
The shooter was legally within her rights to bring a gun to Home Depot. Michigan state law allows for concealed pistol carry—and the unnamed woman had a conceal carry permit for her gun.
Michigan gun laws are lenient toward gun owners and people who fire a gun in self-defense. Concealed carry permits are relatively easy to obtain, and open-carrying is allowed without a permit. Guns can be purchased immediately, with no waiting period.
The state’s gun laws also contain the controversial “Stand Your Ground” provision, which allows gun-holders to use lethal force if they believe themselves to be at risk of serious bodily harm, though the Home Depot shooter has little reasonable claim to a Stand Your Ground-based argument, as her targets were fleeing the scene in a car when she opened fire.
But other Detroit-area gun-holders have recently been excused for shooting criminals. In September, a 60-year-old-old man with a concealed carry permit shot a gun-wielding bank robber three times, a move the town’s mayor defended as a “Second-Amendment right.”
Earlier in September, a Detroit man with a concealed carry permit shot a 17-year-old who had attempted to steal his sunglasses at gunpoint. In June, a Detroit restaurant worker shot and killed a would-be robber who brandished a gun and announced a stickup.
Both of these cases could be argued as self-defense shootings, as protected by the Stand Your Ground law. But even when firing in self-defense, experts urge caution.
“It’s my worst nightmare as a CPL [concealed permit license] instructor,” Doreen Hankins, owner of a Detroit gun store, told The Detroit Free Press of the Home Depot shooting. “You have to know the entire situation before you pull that handgun out. And I don’t see that a shoplifter at Home Depot fills any of those criteria.”