St. Louis Couple Charged with Felonies for Waving Guns During Protests
The St. Louis couple at the epicenter of an appropriate use of guns debate has been formally charged with a felony under Missouri law for pointing their guns toward protestors who invaded the couple’s private property.
At question is the legality of Mark and Patricia McCloskey’s actions. Were they allowed to aim their weapons at the protestors under the pretense of protecting their lives or property? No shots were fired and nobody was hurt in the incident.
In a statement, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner said, “It is illegal to wave weapons in a threatening manner at those participating in nonviolent protest, and while we are fortunate this situation did not escalate into deadly force, this type of conduct is unacceptable in St. Louis.”
But is it illegal? Under Missouri law, it is lawful to defend life with deadly force but not property. The St. Louis police executed a search warrant last week to confiscate the McCloskeys’ guns: an AR-15 and a small silver pistol. It was assumed at this time to be a precursor to formal charges, which were handed down on Tuesday morning.
The indictment is for exhibiting a firearm, which is a the act of pointing a “weapon readily capable of lethal use in an angry or threatening manner” at a person.
However, if the McCloskeys’ lives were being threatened, this act is permissible to defend their lives under Missouri law. According to Patricia McCloskey, the large group of protestors were shouting threats toward the couple, including that “they were going to kill us. They were going to come in there. They were going to burn down the house. They were going to be living in our house after I was dead, and they were pointing to different rooms and said, ‘That’s going to be my bedroom and that’s going to be the living room and I’m going to be taking a shower in that room,’” she told Fox News’ Sean Hannity.
Missouri Governor Mike Parson (R), who has been a strong proponent of pro-2A legislation, said in a radio interview with local talk show host Marc Cox on July 17 that he will probably pardon the McCloskeys if they are charged and convicted.
Whatever the outcome of this case, legal scholars will debate the application of both the Second Amendment and Missouri gun laws for years. ~ David
David is an avid gun guy and a contributing writer to several major gun publications. In addition to being an NRA-certified RSO, David trains new shooters on basic handgun skills and CCW requirements and is a strong advocate for training as much as you possibly can. "Real life shootouts don't happen at a box range."