The Second Amendment is one of the most important additions to the Constitution. This is because, by protecting the right to bear arms, people can defend themselves from dangerous people.
However, under some state laws, doing so could be considered unjustified. For example, a convenience store owner was sentenced to prison for killing a dangerous thief trying to flee his store.
Specifically, earlier this month, Min Kim, the owner of a convenience store in Spanaway, Washington, was sentenced to eight years behind bars for shooting and killing Jakeel Mason back in March 2016. He allegedly caught him trying to steal and shot him as he tried to flee. The court ruled that since he shot him in the back, Kim did not act in self-defense.
According to reports, after asking a group of people to stop loitering, Kim went back inside his shop to find Mason trying to steal a pack of cigarettes from behind the counter. Kim, who was armed, drew his weapon and aimed it at Mason.
Upon seeing Kim’s gun, he put his hands in the air and froze. With the situation under control, Kim holstered the gun, approached, and started punching him in the face. Terrified, Mason pushed him off and ran for the door. At the same time, Kim pulled his gun back out and shot Mason twice in the back, killing him on the spot.
When questioned by police, Kim tried to justify the shooting by claiming, “I was down and he was on top of me and he was trying to reach my gun.” In court, however, prosecutors played surveillance video showing Mason trying to flee from him, not attack.
Since the evidence against him was undeniable, Kim told the judge he was filled with remorse and was willing to take responsibility for his actions. Specifically, he said, “I’m here to take responsibility for my actions in taking Mason’s life. I accept the consequences. I did not have the right to take his life.” He added, “I did not have the right to take Mr. Mason’s life or anyone else’s life. I feel terrible that I did so and will have to live with that for the rest of my life.” During the trial, Kim also asked the judge if he could write an apology letter to the victim’s family. Although this is normally prohibited, in this case, the judge allowed it.
This was not the first time Kim’s store was targeted. Several months before Kim killed Mason, his wife, Seul Lim, was shot by in a different armed robbery. Although the suspect was eventually caught, Kim was reportedly still shaken by the incident. During his trial, his wife tried to point this out to the judge, hoping he would show some mercy. “I was shot by a robber and after that, my husband struggled in fear of losing me,” she explained.
Although the judge admitted the situation was unfortunate, he concluded that Kim had no right to use deadly force against Mason. After the judge’s ruling, the store owner was taken away in handcuffs as his family wailed in the background.
It was also not the first time Mason broke the law. Several years ago, he was allegedly arrested for trying to kidnap a 6-year-old girl, but for some reason, he was only sentenced to 90 days behind bars. His attempt to rob the convenience store proves he clearly didn’t learn his lesson while in jail. If Kim let him escape, it’s likely that he would’ve gone on to harm someone else.
Guns should only be used in self-defense. If someone is running away, then shooting them is not an act of self-defense. But in Kim’s case, he thought he was acting in self-defense. Because of this, the judge should’ve reduced his sentence. On top of this, conservatives need to push to expand the rights of gun owners to better protect store owners like Kim.