What are the rules for business owners arming themselves?

What are the rights and rules for business owners arming themselves?

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Evelyn Gibson, owner of 2nd Chance Tires, has a .38 caliber pistol to protect her business. Evelyn Gibson, owner of 2nd Chance Tires, has a .38 caliber pistol to protect her business.
"You don't have to wait and say ‘Are you going to pull a gun out, point it at me if I don't give you the money.' No, in a robbery situation, you're the clerk, you're the store owner, you'd be justified in using deadly force," said Greg Isaacs. "You don't have to wait and say ‘Are you going to pull a gun out, point it at me if I don't give you the money.' No, in a robbery situation, you're the clerk, you're the store owner, you'd be justified in using deadly force," said Greg Isaacs.
"I know the law is [that] I can have a gun on my premises. If I feel that I need to use that force, I will," said Evelyn Gibson. "I know the law is [that] I can have a gun on my premises. If I feel that I need to use that force, I will," said Evelyn Gibson.

By STEPHANIE BEECKEN
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - 6 News looked into the rights and rules for business owners who choose to arm themselves after Wednesday's robbery at Malone's Jewelers in Alcoa. Police say the business owner shot one of two alleged robbers and held the other at bay until officers arrived.

6 News legal analyst Greg Isaacs says in the case of a robbery, the store owner's and employee's rights are clear. Under Tennessee law, he says you can use reasonable force to defend yourself, your property or a third person.

Evelyn Gibson is the owner of 2nd Chance Tires. The store is located on East Magnolia Avenue in Northeast Knoxville. She says while she's never been robbed, there have been fights.

"We've had to step in. I've got a taser," said Gibson.

To protect herself, her employees, the customers and the business, she also has a .38 caliber handgun in the store.

"It is safety to me to have a gun on the premises, and I hope I never have to use it," said Gibson.

Isaacs says under Tennessee law if someone enters your home or business and robs you and you fear for your life you can use deadly force for protection even if you don't see their weapon.

"You don't have to wait and say ‘Are you going to pull a gun out, point it at me if I don't give you the money.' No, in a robbery situation, you're the clerk, you're the store owner, you'd be justified in using deadly force," said Isaacs.

Isaacs says once the robber leaves the store and the threat is gone, deadly force is not legal.

"Once the threat of deadly force or imminent bodily harm dissipates, then your right to defend yourself dissipates," said Isaacs.

While Gibson hopes she never has use deadly force for protection, she plans to always keep her gun close by when she's at her store just in case.

"I know the law is [that] I can have a gun on my premises. If I feel that I need to use that force, I will," said Gibson.

Greg Isaacs says in the case of a robbery inside a home or business, a person has a reasonable expectation that the robber is going to use deadly force, even if you don't see the weapon.

If the robber is still in the building, the reasonable force may be used, but when the robber runs away and is outside of the building, the reasonable force used is questionable.

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