The situation is changing quickly in St. Louis for the couple that used firearms to protect their home from a large group of protestors who had broken into their private neighborhood.
Over the weekend, media outlets began reporting that police had confiscated the rifle Mark McCloskey held in the June 28 confrontation, in which he and his wife, both St. Louis lawyers, stood their ground against a mob making threats as they passed by the couple’s home. By Monday, murmurs indicated charges might be in the works, and reports early Wednesday indicated a warrant was being prepared for the arrest of the McCloskeys.
The debacle arises from the decidedly liberal, anti-gun St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly M. Gardner, who appears to be trying to make an example of the McCloskeys. Immediately following the armed self-defense episode, Gardner said, “I am alarmed at the events that occurred over the weekend, where peaceful protesters were met by guns and a violent assault,” Gardner said in a statement. “We must protect the right to peacefully protest, and any attempt to chill it through intimidation or threat of deadly force will not be tolerated.” Now, she’s doubling down, apparently instructing police to get a warrant. That’s after she had all 36 looters arrested in the city released. Not so surprisingly, Gardner is a darling of left-wing media and social causes, even having at least one television ad during her 2016 election campaign funded by George Soros’ so-called Safety and Justice PAC.
Interestingly, since Gardner had McCloskey’s AR-15 confiscated, he’s had at least 50 offers from private individuals for a free replacement, and one from a Missouri gun store. St. Charles-based Alien Armory Tactical wrote on its Facebook page Saturday: “To the couple that had this warrant served, please come on by our shop and we will gladly rearm you with a brand new ar15 for ( FREE ).” They added, “We will gladly assist you with a replacement for you to protect your private property for FREE!”
In the latest development, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson and President Donald Trump have weighed in on the situation, supporting the McCloskeys and offering help to their plight.
“That couple had every right to protect their property,” Parson said on Tuesday before a COVID update. “I just got off the phone with the President of the United States before I walked out here today. He understands the situation in Missouri. He understands the situation in St. Louis and how out of control it is for a prosecutor to let violent criminals off and not do their job and try to attack law-abiding citizens. (In) the conversation I had with the President, (he) said that he would do everything he could within his powers to help us with this situation.”
Based on Missouri law, the McCloskeys didn’t do anything illegal in the armed self-defense episode. First of all, Missouri recognizes the “castle doctrine” and allows residents to use deadly force against intruders based on the notion that a person’s home is his castle and he has the right to defend it. The doctrine assumes that if an invader disrupts the sanctity of your home, he or she intends to do you harm and, consequently, you should be able to protect yourself or others against an attack.
Interestingly, Missouri's law is more extensive than similar laws in many other states because it allows you to use deadly force to attack an intruder to protect any private property that you own, in addition to yourself or another individual. This means that if someone illegally enters your front porch or backyard, you can use deadly force against them without first retreating.
In addition, Missouri has a Stand Your Ground law that has been in effect since 2017. Before that law was passed and implemented, Missouri residents who were facing a safety threat from another party had a duty of retreat if at all possible, and could only use deadly force if retreat was not possible. Under the Stand Your Ground law, If a person is in a place where he or she is permitted to be, whether it is at home or in public, he or she has the right to use deadly force in self-defense or in defense of another innocent party—even if there is an opportunity to safely retreat.
Freelance writer and editor Mark Chesnut is the owner/editorial director at Red Setter Communications LLC. An avid hunter, shooter and political observer, he has been covering Second Amendment issues and politics on a near-daily basis for the past 20 years.