Shooting aftermath raises questions in employee self-defense, safety

Ind. is one of few states that allows guns at work

INDIANAPOLIS - The aftermath of a Friday night shooting involving a pizza delivery man is causing neighbors and even state lawmakers to speculate on employee self-defense rights.

Neighbors said teen violence is a problem in the east side neighborhood where the incident occurred.

Pizza deliveryman Michael Andrews shot 15-year-old Jacob Robinson after Robinson demanded money and his cell phone at gunpoint.

A former Papa John’s employee, Mikail Smith-Al-Malk, lives in the neighborhood where the incident occurred and said there is no curfew and a lack of supervision.

Indiana is one of a dozen states that allow employees to bring guns to work, as long as they remain locked in their vehicles.

“Under the law, you can have a gun in your car. You can put it in your glove compartment. You can put it in the side of your door, put it in the trunk of your car, wherever you want it, as long as it’s your own car. So the bigger issue here is workplace safety is getting to be a big concern. People make a low wage and a high risk, that’s a bad combination,” said Rep. Ed DeLaney, D-Indianapolis.

Supporters of Indiana’s "bring your gun to work" law said it keeps people safe while traveling to and from the job, but others said even more needs to be done to keep employees safe at the workplace, and guns aren't always the answer.

“I personally believe there’s no reason to pull out a firearm because there are other methods of deterring criminals that are non-lethal,” Smith-Al-Malk said.

He suggested methods such as Mace or Tasers, which he said would be just as effective, but would lower the risk of death.

“It’s really pretty unfair to pay someone $7 or $8 an hour and ask them to risk their life, that’s the quandary,” DeLaney said.

DeLaney has written a bill to improve safety conditions for convenience store workers and said it will take more than ammunition to keep employees safe.

“It’s wrong to carry an illegal gun, it’s dangerous. It’s possible this would deter the next silly 15-year-old, I don’t know that, but I wouldn’t want another job delivering pizza if that’s the level of risk. I mean, that’s the core problem,” DeLaney said.

 

Follow Ebone Monet on Twitter: @ebonemonet26

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