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As an employer you have complete discretion in this circumstance. The general rule is that employment is "at will" absent an agreement to the contrary, which means you don't need a good reason of even a reason at all to terminate someone. Any language suggesting violence is completely inappropriate in the workplace. However, if you believe this employee was joking you do not "have" to fire them. You can reprimand them in writing and advise them not to make similar comments in the future. Of course, if you think it would be better for your business to fire this employee, you are free to do that as well since employment is "at will." Again, you have discretion in this circumstance.
I hope that you find this information helpful. Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.