WATCH: Armed Employee Stops Robbery at Mary Jane’s Vape Shop in Savannah, Georgia

Jerry Lawrence was fortunate he hadn’t had a chance to disarm before the robbers entered the store. (Photo: Youtube/Screenshot)

A harrowing incident at a smoke shop in Savannah, Georgia, offers several key takeaways for practitioners of armed self-defense.

Jerry Lawrence had just opened Mary Jane’s Vape and Smoke Shop when two customers entered the store. Thinking they were innocent patrons, Lawrence turned his back and walked behind the counter while speaking on the phone with the store’s owner.

“I opened up the store that morning,” Lawrence told local media. “It was maybe around 10:20, 10:30 when they came in. I thought they were just regular customers.”

Security camera footage shows what happened next.

The two men donned masks and gloves and one of them approached Lawrence from behind with a gun.

“When I turned my back, all I hear is someone say ‘go ahead and give it up. Turn back around,’” Lawrence said. “They already have their masks on, gloves on.”

Lawrence says he always carries a firearm for self-defense, but while he’s working he usually keeps it in his bag at the back of the store. Fortunately for him, he hadn’t had the chance to unholster his weapon after opening the store, and he still had it when the robbery began.

SEE ALSO: WATCH: Idiot Points Gun at Friend’s Head while Posing for a Selfie

Security footage shows Lawrence create distance between himself and the men, which allowed him to pull out his gun and chase the men out of the store.

But once the men exited the building, they appeared to Lawrence to reconsider their retreat.

“When they got to the edge of the street, they kind of acted like they were about to turn around,” Lawrence said. “So, I just fired two warning shots.”

Warning shots, despite the advice of our former Vice President, aren’t considered an effective or responsible means of self-defense. Warning shots can endanger innocent bystanders, and prosecutors can use them to prove that the situation didn’t necessitate deadly force.

Rather than indicting the perpetrators of violence, state attorneys sometimes charge victims with “wanton endangerment”  or “reckless discharge of a firearm.” While Lawrence appears to have escaped prosecution, his actions could have landed him in hot water.

He didn’t escape unscathed, however. He told local media that the experience has him concerned about future customers.

“It was a very traumatizing experience cause, you know, they walked in as customers but turning my back for a few seconds turned into a movie scene really fast.”

Ironically, video coverage of the incident shows a prominently displayed sign reading “No Firearms Permitted on Premises.”

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About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over four years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Waco. Follow him on Instagram @bornforgoodluck and email him at

{ 13 comments… add one }
  • Dr Motown October 18, 2018, 8:10 am

    A ‘no guns allowed’ sign on the door doesn’t supersede your right to carry concealed (if you have that permit from your state). If the establishment finds out, the most they can do is ask you to leave, but I doubt you could be charged with any crime

  • mark haney October 12, 2018, 10:30 pm

    didn’t the robbers see the no guns allowed sign on the entrance to the store?

  • Scotty Gunn October 12, 2018, 7:59 pm

    Face tattoos= job at Vape shop.

    • Mikial October 13, 2018, 10:20 pm

      Meaning what exactly? You sound like just another opinionated bigot just because the guys has some ink.

  • Retnavet October 12, 2018, 6:47 pm

    Fired 2 “Warning Shots”…..dumb, dumb, and dumb..

  • Peter Brown October 12, 2018, 1:30 pm

    A sign prohibiting firearms on premises is a notification of very low resistance to crime.
    Such an idiotic sign was posted at a medical building I had to visit. I joked about the sign with front desk staff. They were obediently neutral. I asked them which gender dominated employee numbers in that area of medical buildings. Answer; female. I asked which gender unfortunately suffers 95% of domestic violence crimes. The answer again; female. So, Rodney decides that if he can’t have her, that no one can. Rodney visits a med building with a big knife or a firearm. Will Rodney turn away when he sees that sign? No, Rodney may feel even more empowered because the average armed citizen doesn’t want to be refused treatment by busy doctors. Armed citizens will comply with the sign’s directive and join staff and other patients as fish in a barrel for Rodney, thanks to prejudice and political correctness.
    The desk staff appeared stunned following my presentation. One lady said she never looked at “it” in that way. Politely, I said that the issue puzzles me because the signs defy all logic.

  • LEADFOOT320 October 12, 2018, 12:06 pm

    I shop at KROGERS ALSO ! I never go in to a business that has a no gun sign if I can help it. In my state those signs are just a suggestion and I have trouble reading them. I follow the LAW and believe that anti-gun businesses do not want my business or MY MONEY !

  • USMCM14 October 12, 2018, 11:28 am

    If they are in a “Douche Flute Shop” they all deserve to die !!! LMFAO

  • LJ October 12, 2018, 9:46 am

    One of my favorite Mexican restaurants, that I used to eat at weekly for years, decided to post one of these “No Firearms Permitted on Premises” signs on their door. I abided by their new posting and left my CCW firearm in my car – still concealed on my person.

    I sent the manager an email to let him know I respected his new ‘posting’ and why he lost a dedicated customer that had been dining with him probably over a 100 times. I hope he feels much safer without my gun and I not being there.

    My suggestion to any CCW that stumbles upon a business that doesn’t respect the 2nd amendment and decides to post this life saving sign to just walk away. And make sure you contact them and let them know why …

    • John L October 12, 2018, 11:23 am

      Good advice. Personally I live in a state where these signs are only a suggestion. Should a business somehow realize you are armed they can only ask you to leave. No harm no foul. In keeping with your point, shop your local Kroger food stores. As the largest food retailer in the U.S.A. they came under fire from Moms Demand Action to make their stores gun free, along with Safeway. Safeway immediately caved in and did so. Kroger issued a statement stating that they would continue to abide by state law. Didn’t cave to the pressure. They’ve got my business.

      • LJ October 12, 2018, 12:53 pm

        Unfortunately, in our state, if it is posted on the door it’s against state law to enter with ANY firearm, CCW or open carry. I wish it was an option. But I respect the opinion of the few that post such foolishness on their doors in our fair city and take my business elsewhere.

        I’m sure any thug with ill intent will see the sign and think to himself “hmm – I can’t rob this place, they have a sign banning me from taking my gun in”!

  • Rex Swygman October 12, 2018, 7:28 am

    The “No Guns Allowed” sign on the door didn’t work? I would get a refund if my sign failed to stop a robbery.

  • Darryl October 12, 2018, 6:57 am

    but it had no guns sticker on their door, i guess the bad guys didn’t know how to read. bad guys don’t care about these dumb stickers as you can see. plus how is it this guy who worked there had a gun when he wasn’t suppose to have one? owner take down the dumb sticker so lawful gun owners can carry in your business and help too if need be.

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