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A Waffle House bandit in Atlanta picked the wrong restaurant to rob. During the early hours on a recent Monday morning, an armed robber wearing a hoodie and a bandana entered the Fulton County, Georgia restaurant and demanded the cashier open the register and turn over all the cash inside. Unfortunately for the armed crook, two enjoying a hearty breakfast possessed concealed carry permits and thwarted the theft.
Ashton Macafee, 20, was shot by an off-duty security guard who was dining at the Waffle House with his police officer pal. Both men were off the clock and immediately sprang into action when the robber held the customers at gunpoint. In a recent Off The Grid News report about North Carolina concealed carry law changes, I noted the anti-Second Amendment policy at a Wilmington Waffle House. Hopefully the incident at the Atlanta chain will prompt the local franchise owner to rethink his policy about allowing customers to exercise their concealed carry licenses inside his store.
Atlanta off-duty police officer Jonathan Sutton and his security guard friend Evans Chad Pollard prevented the robbery and possibly saved lives during the early morning crime. Sutton was reportedly unable to get to his gun in time, but Pollard was able to reach his and fired off two rounds, hitting Ashton Macafee.
Evans Chad Pollard had this to say during a local news media interview about the Waffle House shooting in Atlanta:
“I felt that not only my life, but everyone’s life was in danger, so I had to do what I had to do. Everybody was scared and when I eliminated the threat, everyone felt calm. He came in and I did what I could. As soon as he pointed the gun at us I’m like, I thought I was going to die right there. He was just pointing the gun back and forth.”
Pollard used to be a firefighter in Atlanta. He also stated during the interview that as the armed robbery unfolded, all he could think about was his family. The hero’s thoughts were probably identical to those of the other Atlanta Waffle House diners. Restaurants and other public spaces that prohibit concealed carry heighten danger; such policies do not protect patrons.
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Ashton Macafee was reportedly standing about five feet away from the police officer and the security guard. There is currently no indication that Pollard will face any criminal charges in relation to the shooting. The pair of childhood buddies cuffed the armed robber and guarded him until Union City police officers arrived to secure medical treatment for the suspect and ultimately take him into custody. Macafee was transported to Grady Memorial Hospital for treatment and his current condition is unknown.
Gun control advocates will likely want to criticize those who will use the Atlanta Waffle House shooting to support enhanced concealed carry opportunities. Many of the anti-gun folks will state the safe outcome of the attempted armed robbery would have been different if the concealed weapons were not in the hands of trained professionals. While police officers, members of the military, prison, and security guards surely have the most training and are the ideal people to have next to you during a crime, a gun in the hands of a trained citizen offers extremely enhanced protection as well.
My concealed carry permit holder husband took my out to the gun range for shooting practice over the past weekend. I had only shot a gun just a few times before, with my brothers when I was in high school. I was able to get a bull’s eye with a .22 rifle and hit 6, 7, 8, and 9s on the target when shooting with both a .22 and .380 pistol. All the target hits were from 25 feet away. I have a lot more practicing to do both before and after I obtain my concealed carry permit, but my range results illustrate just how accurate an individual determined to protect themselves can be if they practice. My husband has also taught me how to clean, load, and clear jams from the guns.
The fight for Second Amendment rights is ongoing at both the national and state levels. While North Carolina has increased personal protection options, states like California are going in the opposite direction. The state of Illinois is finally embarking on a concealed carry process, but the timeline and new policies are still not being welcomed by gun owners and organizations in the state. Illinois gun rights activists recently failed when attempting to convince a federal judge to allow citizens to carry guns in public.
Second Amendment advocates are now appealing the new concealed carry law dictates. Mary Shepard and the Illinois State Rifle Association filed a notice of appeal in the Chicago-based 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals on July 29. The legal maneuvering came just three days after a US District judge tossed out the group’s lawsuit.
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On July 9, Illinois lawmakers passed the “last in the nation” concealed carry law, going against Governor Pat Quinn’s extremely vocal objections. The new law gives Illinois state police 180 days to craft a concealed carry program and begin processing applications. State law enforcement officers are permitted 90 days to process the concealed gun forms.
In a court filing on Illinois concealed carry law, Mary Shepard had this to say:
“[The concealed carry law] constitutes an unacceptable perpetuation of the defendants’ infringement of the Second Amendment rights. [I am concerned about] the complete ban on carrying firearms that continues to exist until the permitting process is up and running.”
While Shepard has not challenged the intent of the new Illinois concealed carry law, she is concerned about an ongoing right to bear arms exclusion while the wheels of change inch slowly along. Judge Stiehl’s 10-page ruling on the delay ultimately supported the position of Illinois State Attorney General Lisa Madigan.
An excerpt from the Illinois concealed carry ruling reads:
“Challenging the legality of the span state police have to set up the program would require Shepard and the state rifle group to file a new complaint spelling out why such a wait is onerous or illegal.”
It remains unclear how long it will take for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to listen to arguments about Judge Steihl’s concealed carry ruling. If Shepard and the Illinois State Rifle Association must begin the legal process anew to force action on the lengthy concealed carry permit delay, the 180-day program and application process creation might have already come and gone. Last December, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Illinois’ public possession of handguns ban unconstitutional. The good folks of Illinois have already been waiting quite a long time to acquire concealed carry permits and enhance their personal protection.