Did St. Louis Couple Bluff Trespassers with Inoperable Guns? Why it Matters

Image screenshot from ksdk.com (left), and live auctioneers.com (right), cropped, rotated and scaled by Dean Weingarten

U.S.A.-(AmmoLand.com)- The pistol brandished on the McCloskey property in St. Louis appears to have been identified.

The ongoing saga of the McCloskey couple in St. Louis, and their ability to defend their home against a mob of hundreds of people who invaded their private, gated community, has taken some interesting turns.

It has been reported the radical St. Louis Circuit Attorney, Kim Gardner, has charged the couple with unlawful use of a weapon. Missouri has such a statute, as written about earlier on Ammoland.

The charge is controversial. Missouri has a very strong Castle Doctrine law, which gives considerable leeway, especially when people are on their private property.

When the use or threatened use of force is claimed to be justified, as Mark McCloskey has claimed, the state has to burden of proof to show that the McCloskeys' fear for their lives and property was unreasonable. It is a difficult burden for the prosecution to overcome, especially when confronted with evidence of an angry mob of hundreds of people.

Another controversy has developed. The police seized a pistol, which was said to be the one handled by Patricia McCloskey during the incident.

In a program on St. Louis Public radio, the claim was made that prosecutors had to prove the weapons used by the McCloskeys were capable of lethal force. From stlpublicradio.org:

In order to issue the charges, prosecutors must prove the guns were capable of lethal force.

In a close up of the weapon seized, it appears to be a Bryco 38, an inexpensive weapon which has been embroiled in considerable controversy.

The McCloskeys have said the pistol was incapable of being fired. They say they rendered it inoperable to use it as a prop in a court case. The model of the pistol, and its history, make the claim particularly credible.

Documents showing the pistol was incapable of being fired, when it arrived at the crime lab, have been leaked to the press.

Image from leaked documents, cropped and scaled by Dean Weingarten

The firearm was reassembled at the crime lab, so that it could work as designed. There has been speculation the experts were told to reassemble the pistol to show that it could be fired. The charges against the McCloskeys did not include any information the pistol had been inoperative.

It has been reported, the police did not find any ammunition for the rifle Mark McCloskey possessed at the time of the incident.

Missouri Governor (R) Mike Parson, has said he will pardon the McCloskeys if it becomes necessary.

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt has called for the dismissal of the charges against the McCloskeys. From foxnews.com:

“Despite this, Circuit Attorney Gardner filed suit against the McCloskeys, who, according to published reports, were defending their property and safety. As Missouri’s Chief law enforcement officer, I won’t stand by while Missouri law is being ignored,” Schmitt said.

The brief filing says the attorney general “respectfully requests that the Court dismiss this case at the earlier possible opportunity.”

The fact that crime lab personnel carefully documented the pistol was inoperative when they examined it, and someone anonymously leaked the document to the press, showing the lab had found the pistol to be inoperative, indicates people did not want to be seen as altering evidence, or as being part of a conspiracy to obstruct justice.

Prosecutors have enormous power, created for them by the Supreme Court in 1983, when they were given absolute immunity from lawsuit.

Perhaps it is time that absolute immunity for prosecutors be re-examined.


About Dean Weingarten:Dean Weingarten

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

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Red Falcon 1325
Red Falcon 1325
4 days ago

The McCloskey attorney ought to get on the offensive and sue Gardner et al for malicious prosecution. Seems like it would be easy enough to prove.

Rock
Rock
5 days ago

Being it is a Bryco, it is VERY questionable IF it would have ever functioned WITH all of it’s parts. Yeah, I had one someone GAVE me, better off THROWING it at the perp.
Either way, you only are going to get ONE SHOT !

Wass
Wass
5 days ago

As one who grew up on the streets of NY, one dictum stands apropos: “You can bluff if you have a gun, but you don’t bluff if you don’t have a gun.” This St.Louis lawyer should have known this. However, you don’t learn this in law school.

Dactylographer
Dactylographer
5 days ago

Having trained as a forensic firearms examiner…
An examiner will examine any firearms submitted to determine functionality and safety. This will include determining why a firearm is not functional, and if safe, rendering it operable to permit test firing. Courts have held that “functional” independent on the steps necessary to make a firearm capable of firing. Something as simple as reversing the FP and spring has been held to be a functional firearm, as opposed to a firearm missing important parts. I despise the politically driven prosecutor, but the actions of the lab were consistent with forensic procedure.

Dactylographer
Dactylographer
5 days ago
Reply to  Dactylographer

And, as an aside…first, the McCloskey’s should have had operable firearms, or no firearms. Second, they need basic firearm training, based upon the images of their handling at the incident. Guns are not to bluff with, they should be functional (since no one else knows they aren’t functional…including the first responding officer), and they should be handled properly and respectfully. Liberal lawyers!!!!

Xaun Loc
Xaun Loc
5 days ago

Much ado about nothing. Or more precisely, much ado about politics, and nothing to do with the law. The entire fuss about the McCloskeys is entirely a political debate, with extremist voices screaming on both sides while anyone paying attention to the law, or to common sense, is drowned out and shouted down. I have no problem believing her pistol was inoperative — I and several others who watched the videos of these idiots waving their guns around all noted that her gun might not have been loaded because it was a miracle she didn’t have a negligent discharge the… Read more »

MICHAEL J
MICHAEL J
5 days ago

No such thing as a corrupted prosecutor as evidenced by absolute immunity?

Idaho Bob
Idaho Bob
5 days ago

“Show me the man and I’ll show you the crime”, has never rung truer than the days we are living in. Lawlessness abounds, and that’s just in the government!

Stone
Stone
5 days ago

I do like Rob Pincus’ comments. Considering that the Mob didn’t seem to actually be scared of the two with their firearms, what would the McCloskey’s do if they were actually attacked? Answer: get beat to death with their own unusable firearms. When you have the legal right to own and use a firearm, it should be serviceable. Mr. McCloskeys should have had the AR slung and serviceable, to carry it as he did could easily provoke an action that otherwise would not have happened, Ms. McCloskey had even worse gun handling, but it too should have been holstered or… Read more »

Get Out
Get Out
5 days ago
Reply to  Stone

After viewing current video of the crowds rapid dispersal rate after a weapon is discharged in the vicinity, I believe that same crowd would have been a stampede to get away from the McCroskey’s area of operations had they fired their weapons. Another observation is no one approached the McCloskey’s to test the theory, would they shoot?

Check the video again McCloskey had a 30 round mag in the AR.

Last edited 5 days ago by Get Out
uncle dudley
uncle dudley
5 days ago

This entire case is BS and should have never been filed against the couple.
The people who were protesting the mayor who lives a block or so away were illegally trespassing on private property after damaging a private gate to get in and the street is not a city owned and maintained street it also is private.
The prosecutor is a radical democrat who was funded by George Soros and still receives campaign cash from his pac.
This is a prosecutor who needs to be removed for unlawful use of her power.

JoseyWales
JoseyWales
5 days ago

It is disturbing that the police served a warrant to seize their weapons. Police take an oath to protect the Constitution. The police need to stand up for the Constitution and law abiding citizens rather than take a knee for criminals.

Rinohunter
Rinohunter
5 days ago

If I need a lawyer in Missouri, I am contacting the McCloskeys!!!

Gregory Peter DuPont
Gregory Peter DuPont
5 days ago

Am I the only one shocked that anyone would willingly disable a firearm and proceed to use it as a ” bluff” in a defensive situation? I’m glad they pulled it off and are (mostly) unscathed, but that’s a HELL of a dangerous gamble. I’m split between admiration for their managing it and ” Dafuq were you thinking??!!”dismay.
Either way I am glad they’re OK.

Tionico
Tionico
5 days ago

My take: as mentioned in Dean’s piece above, the pistol had been modified previously for a court case (they are both attorneys, so this makes sense). Now facing the reality of the mob having broken in to the gatelock community and advancing, they had two choices.. hunker down inside and hope they pass them by, or stand on the front lawn making their theatre props very visible and hope to cause them to “keeo on truckin'” to elsewhere. No way of knowing whether the mob would have passed their home and continued on to the mayor’s house, done their dirt… Read more »

Rock
Rock
5 days ago

NEVER BLUFF, always be prepared and willing for the worse.

Baldwin
Baldwin
6 days ago

Jury lab nullification?

Rob Pincus
6 days ago

As I understand it, the pistol was given by the couple to their lawyer, who then delivered it to the police…. which obviously leaves a lot of room for the gun to have been in a different condition than it was in the videos we’ve all seen. The idea that the gun was “seized by the police”, as if it was taken out of her hands during the incident suggests a very different timeline. These people may not have violated any law, but all gun owners should see their actions as irresponsible… when she was handling a live gun negligently… Read more »

hoss
hoss
6 days ago
Reply to  Rob Pincus

So basically what your saying is, you judge all gun owners by what one woman was doing by handling a pistol improperly. She had her finger on the trigger the whole time.
I’ve heard a lot of good things about you, and a number of not so good things, after reading your post, I can understand the latter.

GUNFUN
GUNFUN
6 days ago
Reply to  hoss

He wasn’t judging anyone. He was pointing out the failures in what she did and reminding us all to take note.

Matt in Oklahoma
Matt in Oklahoma
5 days ago
Reply to  GUNFUN

Bull

Jeremy B.
Jeremy B.
5 days ago
Reply to  hoss

Rob doesn’t judge us that way. But others will. Just as some of the editorials here (not from Dean) talk about “soy boys” or lump all left leaning US citizens and hating America.

Human’s seemingly love to dismiss an entire category of persons based on the actions of a few.

Matt in Oklahoma
Matt in Oklahoma
5 days ago
Reply to  Rob Pincus

Yes they should all be as professional as the opposition such as the NFAC. People who carry and go into the community should certainly have better training. Those who are thrust into a situation by criminals can not be expected to be held to the same standards. If your wife is being chased by a car full of thugs meaning her and the kids harm in the minivan no one comes back and picks apart her wreckless driving, bad cornering and improper acceleration even though she drives that car every day and has for years. It’s just “experts” like you… Read more »

Jeremy B.
Jeremy B.
5 days ago

If it was a dangerous crowd, then they ought to have had working firearms.

If it wasn’t a dangerous crowd then they were antagonizing the crowd.

Xaun Loc
Xaun Loc
5 days ago
Reply to  Rob Pincus

Thank you for a voice of reason.

Green Mtn. Boy
Green Mtn. Boy
6 days ago

“Perhaps it is time that absolute immunity for prosecutors be re-examined.”

Ya think !

AZ Lefty
AZ Lefty
6 days ago
Reply to  Green Mtn. Boy

Sure as soon as we end it for cops

Carbuilder
Carbuilder
5 days ago
Reply to  AZ Lefty

You’re really bad at this. Cops don’t have absolute immunity from prosecution, they get arrested all the time when the law is broken.

Patriot Solutions
Patriot Solutions
6 days ago
Reply to  Green Mtn. Boy

And perhaps it is time for a better understanding of the law. My Bible says my right to arms and self defense comes from GOD as was understood and declared by the Founders and although protected by 2A against infringement 1A protects the GOD granted right also because it is illegal to uphold rules and laws that prohibit the FREE exercise of religious beliefs which is also outlined in the Civil Rights Act. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these… Read more »

Last edited 6 days ago by Patriot Solutions
WWG1WGA
WWG1WGA
5 days ago

Well stated!