An Oregon store clerk has been fired for drawing his legally-concealed handgun on a hatchet-wielding would-be robber last month, and now that the story is getting national media attention, the former clerk told a reporter for KTVB News, “Your life’s not worth a minimum wage job.”
The company that owns the store, Plaid Pantry, has a no-weapons policy for employees. Instead, according to KOIN News in Portland, the company “adheres to proven industry best practices, including the policy of no weapons in the store.” Here’s the store’s statement:
“Plaid Pantry adheres to proven industry best-practices, including the policy of no weapons in the store. The Company makes significant investments in security equipment and training in robbery deterrence and violence prevention. All employees are trained in these procedures and receive ongoing refresher training. In the event a robbery does occur, the focus shifts entirely to non-resistance, cooperation, and violence avoidance for the safety of our employees and customers.”
But earlier this week, at a different store in a different state, that logic was put to the test and things went badly for two female store clerks at a HyVee gas station in Le Mars, Iowa.
According to KeloLand News, a robber entered the store early Sunday morning, demanded money and as he was leaving, he turned and shot both women in their mid-sections.
About three years ago in south King County, Washington, a man armed with a large hatchet entered a convenience store and immediately swung at a customer, barely missing that man’s head, and then attacked the store clerk. The 60-year-old customer was armed, however, and drew his legally-carried revolver, fatally shooting the attacker. No charges were filed in that case.
The former Plaid Pantry clerk has reportedly acknowledged that he knew his job was forfeited when he drew the gun. Store surveillance video published by the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Department and broadcast by KGW caught the entire incident. The would-be robber, faced with a handgun, put the hatchet on the counter, temporarily dropped to his knees, apologized and then fled.
Former clerk Kristofer Follis has reportedly gotten at least one job offer. He told KGW, “I already knew as soon as I drew the gun, I was getting fired.”
But Follis also said he was scared for his life.
According to the Crime Prevention Research Center, more than 17.25 million people are licensed to carry in the United States. As far back as 2017, a Washington Post report estimated that “roughly 3 million” citizens carry a gun daily, and “roughly 9 million” licensed citizens carried a gun at least once a month. Whether they have those guns on the job wasn’t clear, but anecdotal stories like the one from Oregon suggest that some do.
According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report, armed citizens killed 299 criminal suspects, and of those, 231 used handguns. The previous year, 282 would-be criminals were killed by armed citizens, and 202 of them were shot with handguns.