‘Stand Your Ground’ law protects TN restaurant owner in self-defense shooting

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A man attempting to rob a Chinese restaurant Monday night was shot and killed by an employee.

On Tuesday, police said the employee would not face any charges since he shot the suspect in self-defense.

The Stand Your Ground law allows you to use deadly force to protect yourself, but one expert said even if you can legally do it doesn't mean you should

"Once you've pulled the trigger you can't get it back," Chris Fowler said.

Fowler teaches a handgun carry course at Top Brass. According to his understanding of the Stand Your Ground law, what the employee did was justified.

The law says, "If a person is in a place where he or she has the right to be, then he/she has no duty to retreat." This includes where you work.

"It's not Dodge City and you're not Wyatt Earp," Fowler said.

He said, however, the law does not give you the right to shoot whenever you want. You have to be in reasonable fear for your life, and possibly losing your property is not enough justification.

"Tennessee says give the car," Fowler said. "Give them the house for that matter."

But Fowler said even if you do have the right under the law to shoot, you should think twice before doing it

"There's no guarantee you hit what you're shooting at," Fowler said. "What if you hit a bystander? This happens in a split second. So, if you haven't got a pre-mindset--in other words, you're not sure what you're going to do--you're better off doing nothing at all."

Tennessee is one of at least 20 states with a Stand Your Ground law.

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