U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- The St. Louis couple whose armed defense of their home from protesters last summer made national news now faces a criminal trial tentatively scheduled during the first week of November, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Mark and Patricia McCloskey became reluctant celebrities of sorts last year when they were caught on video carrying guns outside their mansion after protesters allegedly broke through a gate and entered their property. As reported by the Portland Press Herald and Associated Press, “The protesters ventured onto a private street that includes the McCloskey mansion. The couple, both of them attorneys in their early 60s, said they felt threatened after protesters broke down an iron gate and ignored a ‘No Trespassing’ sign. Protest leaders denied damaging the gate and said the march was peaceful.”
The march was actually headed toward the home of then-St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson, according to published reports. Nobody has ever explained why the crowd veered onto the McCloskey’s property, which was protected by a gated barrier.
Mark McCloskey was armed with an AR-15-style rifle and his wife held a small semiautomatic pistol. Images of the couple have become famous, and went viral almost immediately following the incident. They have been interviewed on various Fox News programs and elsewhere, and their case also got attention because of allegations Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner sent fundraising emails during her reelection campaign last year mentioning the case.
The case has raised questions about the rights of people to defend their homes with firearms in situations where protesters pose a threat. Even though leaders of the protest insisted the march was peaceful, that apparently was not how the McCloskey’s viewed the situation.
Expect a considerable amount of controversy as this case moves forward. Another hearing is set next month, the Post-Dispatch reported. Does a protest march have any First Amendment right to step onto private property? Has anyone been arrested for breaking through the McCloskey’s gate?
The case may cut to the core purpose of the Second Amendment. In the 2008 case of District of Columbia v. Heller, it was established by the Supreme Court that the people have a right to keep a handgun in the home for self-defense.
Does the right to keep and bear arms apply to defending the home, or just the people inside?
Patricia McCloskey held a handgun, while Mark McCloskey held an AR-15-type rifle. Joe Biden and Capitol Hill anti-gunners consider such a firearm to be an “assault weapon” that should be banned, while gun rights activists insist modern semiautomatic sporting rifles like the one McCloskey carried, are in common use and most certainly are protected by the Second Amendment. The high court has yet to weigh in on that subject.
The McCloskeys were indicted by a St. Louis grand jury in October on a felony charge of unlawful use of a weapon and evidence tampering, the Post-Dispatch detailed, and some argue charges should never have been brought. Missouri Gov. Mike Parsons announced he would pardon the couple if they are convicted, which may further muddy the legal water that has already been stirred by the fact the protest was part of the strife following last year’s death of George Floyd in Minneapolis after being pinned to the ground for more than nine minutes with a knee across his neck. The former police officer responsible for that use of force was recently convicted of murder.
A special prosecutor has been appointed, according to KSDK News. He is Richard Callahan, a former U.S. attorney, and judge.
The McCloskey’s are represented by attorney Joel Schwartz, who has argued the grand jury process was “tainted” by Gardner, who did win re-election last fall.
There is even more drama in this case. According to Politico, Mark McCloskey “is considering running for the Senate in 2022, after Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., announced in March he would not seek reelection.”
The McCloskey’s appeared in a video message during last year’s Republican National Convention. As reported by Politico, “The couple became a cause célèbre for conservatives and won the support of then-President Donald Trump, who used the incident to advance a central theme of his reelection campaign — that far-left activists were overrunning upscale communities.”
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