One man in Topeka, Kansas is praising the state’s new permitless carry law, which he credits for allowing him to stop an alleged robbery at a sports and outdoors store this past Friday.
Joey Tapley, 24, was shopping at Academy Sports and Outdoors in Topeka when he witnessed three teenagers—aged 16 to 17—stealing firearms and cash from the store. Security footage showed that at least one of the teens were armed with what appeared to be a handgun, and witnesses said he used it to threaten a clerk during the robbery. When they fled with the stolen guns, Tapley said he followed them outside and pulled his own concealed handgun.
“I told him ‘Drop the gun man, mine is loaded, just drop the gun.’ We made eye contact for a second or two and he dropped two guns and ran,” Tapley told WIBW, recalling the tense confrontation with the teens.
Other witnesses indicated that the robbers seem to be confused and could not find their getaway vehicle, allowing Tapley to gain the upper hand. In the end, the thieves decided to flee the scene on foot, but they did not get far. According to the Topeka Police Department, the teens were arrested later that day with an older woman believed to be an accomplice to the robbery.
Officials said that the teens were booked into Shawnee County’s Juvenile Detention Center and have been charged with counts of aggravated assault, aggravated robbery, and aggravated burglary. It is currently unknown if the thieves had any gang ties, or for what purpose the guns—which included several rifles—were stolen. The Topeka Capital-Journal reported that the firearms and cash taken during the robbery have been recovered.
Tapley, who does not have a concealed carry permit, said that just two weeks ago he would not have been carrying a firearm. That was when the state’s recently signed permitless carry law, or constitutional carry as it is known to some, took effect.
“Thats why Kansas made the law. So citizens can carry and protect themselves and others. I guess my instincts just took over,” said Tapley.
Many have taken to social media to praise Tapley’s actions, especially gun rights advocates.
You can watch a interview with witnesses below:
Image from the Topeka Police Department