It’a an old story. An employee — usually one who works in retail — who’s prohibited by his employer from carrying a firearm while on the job, is forced to defend himself. However, valuing their lives more than their jobs, many such employees arm themselves anyway, in full knowledge that they’re likely to be fired should they ever have to use their gun for personal defense. Case in point: Springfield, Missouri Pizza Hut delivery man William Hotop.

The Pizza Hut had just closed.

Outside the windows of the store on South Grant Avenue, William Hotop could see only darkness.

“Bam! Bam!”

A man was knocking down the glass door, so Hotop, 31, said he bolted for where he knew a gun was located in the Pizza Hut.

What ensued was what Hotop described as a “a good old-fashioned gunfight.”

The man pointed a gun at him, Hotop said, and they both pulled triggers.

“It was like, ‘Oh, s—,'” he told the News-Leader Tuesday. “I know you can’t put that in the news, but that’s the best way I can describe it.”

Hotop said he took cover as the man fired more shots, then Hotop chased the man out of the Pizza Hut firing two shots.

Fortunately, no one was injured during the exchange of lead. Note that in the report, the firearm Hotop went for wasn’t described as his gun. That’s because he has a prior felony conviction and can’t legally own or carry one…a restriction that apparently didn’t apply to the store’s un-named manager.

Since then, Hotop said, Pizza Hut has suspended him without pay and fired the manager working that night. …

Hotop said he’s not happy with the decision to suspend him.

“I can’t believe that after I protected the store, I’m basically losing my job,” Hotop said, adding that the manager should not have been fired.

Hotop’s also worried about what the local prosecutor may do given his record.

Hotop said he’s also afraid he might be targeted because of a prior felony conviction.

About a decade has passed since his last conviction, Hotop said, and he came to Springfield to get a new start in life.

Hotop said the gun he fired that night was not his, though he hopes to one day again have the right to carry a firearm.

Given that he’s paid his debt to society, and kept his nose clean for a decade, why not?

 

51 Responses to Pizza Delivery Driver Suspended After ‘Old-Fashioned Gunfight’

  1. This whole “prohibited person” thing really flies in the face of any rational relationship to self defense. Can anyone tell me why these prohibited persons should not be able to defend themselves? Is there some sort of guarantee that they’ll be protected otherwise? There is a vast difference between the “felon” with a violent history, and someone who marked government paperwork “wrong.”

    It’s the same with the chronological age discrimination. If a 17 year old and a 21 year old are walking home alone at night… why would only the 21 year old be “allowed” to carry something to defend herself with? That’s nuts.

    Any person who can’t be trusted with a weapon of any kind (and that, of course covers far more than just guns), shouldn’t be let out of jail in the first place. And we all know just who these people are already… those committing most of the crimes now – and regardless of their race.

    • In Colorado anyway, and perhaps other states, if a prohibited person is found by a jury to be not guilty/self defense in a gun use, firearm charges are dismissed.

    • Prohibiting ex felons from owning a gun should be unconstitutional. If an individual is viewed to be safe enough to be released back into society they should be viewed as safe enough to own a gun.

      If you can’t trust someone to own a gun why are they being released from jail in the first place?

  2. Shitty but unsurprising.

    Pizza chains value the advice of their liability lawyers more than the lives of employees. It’s been that way for a long time.

    In some areas food delivery can be one of the sketchier jobs available and the chains give no shits about this.

    • It sucks, to be sure.
      But it’s not like there are no other barely-minimum wage jobs out there… heck our warehouse is populated almost entirely with “colorful” individuals and we pay better than that.
      He’ll be fine but that business owner should be ashamed.

    • Employees lives, or customers for that matter.

      In a rational society, they’d pay him the going rate for a night’s work as a security guard.

      • A rational society wouldn’t trust him around cash and inventory, let alone a gun. That’s why the manager got fired, too.

        • Just to highlight the reality that you are missing: Wachovia was caught red-handed laundering hundreds of millions of dollars for drug-related Latin American customers. Yet, because convicting the corporation of a felony (yes, it can be done) would make them ineligible to participate in various aspects of the banking system e.g. federal bank insurance, and licensing as a FRB member….Wachovia was only required to sign a consent decree, paying a fine and promising not to do it again. The relevant key executives of the bank suffered no criminal indictment or information.

          But you think a low-level non-violent felony should press on the guy for life? Have you thought it over? What should we have done with Wachovia? With BoA in another case? (Low level felony in re guns? A DUID (under the influence of a drug) is a misdemeanor in many states, but allows a sentence of from three months to five years in several states. PA is an example. Such a conviction makes the person a felon for federal gun law purposes.

          The large bank case is exactly parallel to this, that we never press criminal indictments against the major Pharma companies despite their occasional commission of extremely serious drug-related and financial crimes. Why not? Because their patented or sole-producer drugs would immediately become banned from purchase by all federal agencies including both the VA hospitals and Medicare. Therefore we insist only on a consent decree and fine.

          Perspective. It matters. Or not? The guys that in effect supervised the banking and pharma crimes are still very rich, playing with yachts, and holding positions that allow them great discretion. You can say, “well, one wrong does not justify another!” However, it is the US Federal Government which approves the one and harshly punishes the other.

    • I worked for Papa John’s in my early twenties. I was robbed at gunpoint twice. This happens alot more often than people think. The police don’t care, they act like it’s no big deal and we should expect that as part of our job. They never catch the perps either.

      • Police have no legal duty to protect individuals. They certainly have no more legal duty to care if you live or die.

        Protect YOURSELF or just don’t get protected AT ALL.

    • Not a lawyer, but there’s no automatic civil rights restoration for felons. You have to petition a court to get them back.

      I read about an older gent who was denied on a background check because of a felony from like 60 years in his past. Not even a violent one, it was a joyride that got more than a little crazy. A nice extra kick in the nads is that the driver crossed state lines so it was a _federal_ felony, which can’t be expunged at all because congress won’t fund the office where they do that paperwork.

      This is why I don’t support automatically making all felons prohibited. Separating a person from their civil rights should at the very least require a separate action in court.

    • Not a lawyer, but there’s no automatic civil rights restoration for felons. You have to petition a court to get them back.

      I read about an older gent who was denied on a background check because of a felony from like 60 years in his past. Not even a violent one, it was a joyride that got more than a little crazy. A nice extra kick in the nads is that the driver crossed state lines so it was a _federal_ felony, which can’t be expunged at all because congress won’t fund the office where they do that paperwork.

      This is why I don’t support automatically making all felons prohibited. Separating a person from their civil rights should at the very least require a separate action in court.

    • In CA there is no fixed amount of time. Everywhere, I think, it depends on the crime(s). For example, DUI does not equal drug possession which does not equal armed robbery.

    • Apologies if there’s like 6 instances of this message, it’s not showing up for me:

      Not a lawyer, but there’s no automatic civil rights restoration for felons. You have to petition a court to get them back.

      I read about an older gent who was denied on a background check because of a felony from like 60 years in his past. Not even a violent one, it was a joyride that got more than a little crazy. A nice extra kick in the nads is that the driver crossed state lines so it was a _federal_ felony, which can’t be expunged at all because congress won’t fund the office where they do that paperwork.

      This is why I don’t support automatically making all felons prohibited. Separating a person from their civil rights should at the very least require a separate action in court.

    • I don’t think there’s a set expiration date on the prohibition. The “felon” must submit a petition to have their civil rights restored, showing that they meet certain statutory requirements. I believe those requirements–as well as the process itself–vary by state. On the federal level, I don’t think there’s a way to get gun rights restored: the process is to petition the ATF, but the ATF has been explicitly denied funding to respond to these petitions.

    • Wow that’s bullsh*t… Not your comment but the fact it takes that damn long and you still can’t get full citizenship back because you did something stupid and they decided to charge you with a felony over a misdemeanor or lower class felony. Seriously after your sentence and completion of any probation or post release instructions or programs you should be given full rights back or at least a path to obtain your full rights again rather than just tossed out with no guidance on how to regain your rights.

      • Depending on felony that’s bullsh*t. Yes violent felons (murderers, rapists, robbers) should lose their rights but your average felon (pot growers, moonshiners, and white collar felons) shouldn’t and both should have a pathway back to fully regaining their rights after release without the legal hoops. For instance no violent issues while in prison, completing rehab or GED, & say 5-10 years with no probation violations or negative encounters with law enforcement.

    • I’m not a lawyer, but there’s no automatic restoration of firearm rights. You have to go hat in hand and have a court declare them reinstated. What’s worse is that if it’s a federal felony there’s no way to get your rights restored because the office that was created to do that paperwork hasn’t been funded for years.

      This is why I don’t think any felony should make one a prohibited person automatically. At the very least it should take a separate court case to separate someone from their civil rights.

      The website ate my even longer comment like 6 times and it’s not on the clipboard anymore… bleh.

  3. Pretty sure a duress defense is only inapplicable to rape and murder. I’m no lawyer, but I’ve never heard anything about it excluding “felon in possession of a firearm”. A quick Google finds that Missouri does not prohibit felons from owning muzzleloaders (While most states don’t consider them firearms for 4473, some like Georgia do for ownership by felons). Unless he was in for rape, murder or armed robbery, someone should give Hotop a replica Remington.

  4. Decisions have consequences. Commit a felony, lose some rights.
    If you don’t want to lose those rights, don’t commit felonies.

    We need to stop telling the lie that serving prison time is “paying his debt to society.” That’s bunk. Getting free housing, clothing, food and medical care from taxpayers does nothing to pay any debt. To suggest that we should treat a criminal like a non-criminal after his release is pure foolishness.

    • I would agree with you Curtis if it were not for the fact that fedzilla and state analogs have declared all sorts of frivolous stuff to be felonies. Example: you are walking down a nature trail, pick up a turkey feather, take it home, and post a photo of your turkey feather in your living room. Unfortunately, it turns out to be an owl feather and fedzilla prosecutes you for a felony.

      Should you lose your firearm rights forever for picking up what you thought was a turkey feather and taking it home?

  5. “Fortunately, no one was injured during the exchange of lead.” I’d say unfortunately. The guy who broke in and tried to rob the place should have been put down, because in all likely hood he’ll try again somewhere else. Next time the victim(s) may not be so lucky.

  6. “Fortunately, no one was injured during the exchange of lead.” I’d say unfortunately. The guy who broke in and tried to rob the place should have been put down, because in all likely hood he’ll try again somewhere else. Next time the victim(s) may not be so lucky.

  7. We need to stop telling the lie that serving prison time is “paying his debt to society.” That’s bunk. Getting free housing, clothing, food and medical care from tax payers does nothing to pay any debt. To suggest that we should treat a criminal like a non-criminal after his release is pure foolishness.

    Decisions have consequences. Commit a felony, lose some rights.
    If you don’t want to lose those rights, don’t commit felonies.

    • Most of us commit some felony almost every day without realizing it. So much stuff is illegal no one can keep track anymore.

  8. I’m no lawyer and I just read a short article. IF everything about this article is true and nothing major was left out let’s look at the bigger picture. A man who earned a felony has spent some time locked up. Some become worse criminals, others think about what has transpired and relocate to another town and try and fly straight. I think he falls under the latter. Regardless if the unconstitutional GCA tells him he can’t have a gun, he used it to defend this silly chain pizza shop. But this silly pizza shop employees probably between a dozen or two people who squeak by to pay bills and probably smoke a little grass let’s be honest (ahem delivery driver). Worn out people rely on them to eat after they don’t have energy to cook dinner with kids and what not. If they continually get robbed, their insurance rates go up, neighboring property values go down etc… maybe the armed robber will think twice before robbing another restaurant knowing that the late night employees are wise to the nightlife. My opinion is neither should be fired and both should be given raises, hell give them their own franchise. My two cents. Too bad we live in a growing pansy nation..

  9. Now the whole world knows that it is Pizza Hut’s official corporate policy to leave their employees (some of them minors) defenseless, and many working at night. DO YOU HEAR THAT PIZZA HUT? The Whole world knows! Pizza Hut is now a target! Want to bet the corporate headquarters has armed security? If any of their employees are ever injured in another robbery you are going to pay big time for not protecting them. You could have just given this guy a dollar raise, kept the whole thing quiet and everything would have been forgotten. But no, some executives had to be assholes. I hope the get fired for royally screwing this up. Morons!

  10. Now the whole world knows that it is Pizza Hut’s official corporate policy to leave their employees (some of them minors) defenseless, and many working at night. DO YOU HEAR THAT PIZZA HUT? The Whole world knows! Pizza Hut is now a target! Want to bet the corporate headquarters has armed security? If any of their employees are ever injured in another robbery you are going to pay big time for not protecting them. You could have just given this guy a dollar raise, kept the whole thing quiet and everything would have been forgotten. But no, some executives had to be assholes. I hope the get fired for royally screwing this up. Morons!

  11. “Hotop’s also worried about what the local prosecutor may do given his record.

    Hotop said he’s also afraid he might be targeted because of a prior felony conviction.”

    The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) will not prosecute someone for operating a radio transmitter without a license if it’s a genuine emergency (injury-death, or major loss of property).

    Sure would be nice if that applied to self-defense…

    • what an absolutely great name for a red headed male.

      ever think this triple plus plus multiple posting thing just kips up bobbie’s hits? hmmm…

  12. Thank goodness no one was hurt. If the perp would have been killed or injured Mr. Hotop would be in a world of sht. The big mistake was not evacuating the premises, and if that option was not available then arming oneself and seeking refuge in an remote location until directly confronted would be another recourse. Flight is better then fight, in this situation, it isn’t right, but that’s the way legislation sees it. The use of a firearm in self defense situations carry’s, repurcussions

  13. Where are all comments about how they are “ok” with felons not having the right to a firearm? Come – on guys? Drop them now. You have said them so many times before.

  14. All you know is that he hasn’t been convicted of anything in the past ten years. Let’s just assume not even arrested, either. That’s not the same thing as saying definitively that he has kept his nose clean during that period.

    Only about half of the violent crimes and a third of the property crimes that occur in the U.S. each year are reported to police. Most of the crimes that are reported don’t result in the arrest, charging and prosecution of a suspect, let alone in conviction.

    So who knows what he might have done in those years? And, no, I’m not convicting him of anything additional based merely on probability. You know how you can tell? By my not saying put him back in prison, that’s how. I’m only saying let’s work with the facts we have, which include his being a felon.

    On the contrary, you’re the one claiming he’s kept his nose clean, and suggesting he should have his gun rights restored. Well.
    That’s an extraordinary claim requiring extraordinary proof, of which there is none.

    He’s made his bed; let him lie in it. No guns for him. By the way, to everyone clamoring to restore gun rights to released felons, understand that making that standard practice will inevitably come with restoration of voting rights, too. Think about that.

    The recidivism rate is over half within the first year, about 2/3 within three years, and over 3/4 within five years. These felons you whose rights you want restored are just going to get out, vote Democrat for a cycle or two, re-offend, and get locked back up, anyway. Meanwhile, you bleeding heart “2A absolutists” will now have that many more Democrats in office working to snatch the gun rights you foolishly restored to their voters. Thanks a lot.

  15. Given that he’s paid his debt to society, and kept his nose clean for a decade, why not?

    If the offense was non-violent, restitution has been made in full, and the sentence has been served… sure.

    Redemption in the eyes of the law and society should be possible.

  16. Corporate America could not care less whether its employees live or die. Businesses are unlikely to run out of minimum wage personnel, and if they do, they’ll just import more from Mexico or Syria.

    Employees are to employers as cannon fodder is to generals.

    Truth — it is a bitch.

  17. If memory serves . . . as this late date, my mind soon to be 80 years old . . .”SECOND CHANCE BODY ARMOR” was subsequently developed by a PIZZA DELIVERYMAN who successfully defending himself in an armed robbery attack, the good that resulted from his successful armed defense being not only in his saving his own life as well as the development of a product, BODY ARMOR, that is in commonplace use in the military and law enforcement as well as by patriot militia members and which has saved a multitude of lives and potentially will save many more.

    • According to Wiki:
      The company was founded in the early 1970s by former U.S. Marine and pizza delivery owner/driver Richard Davis. Davis developed the idea of a bulletproof vest after shooting three armed robbers in self-defense during a delivery. This incident was later documented in a 1995 book written by firearms instructor Massad Ayoob called The Ayoob Files: The Book.

  18. WHy does clicking on ” Notify me of follow-up comments by email” still not work?
    Nothing here about it, and, even though I enter my email, no one says anything to me about it?
    Am I seriously the only one this happens to?

    • yes.
      all of this sites functions work perfectly well for everyone other than yourself.
      maybe if you changed your name to big check it would help.

      • That’s funny, my previous comment never showed up.

        Don’t make blanket comments about other people without proof.

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