Missouri attorney general asks court to drop charges against St. Louis home defending McCloskeys

McCloskeys' prosecution sends the wrong message, 'You exercise your right to keep and bear arms in self-defense at your peril,' say AG Eric Schmitt.

Updated: July 22, 2020 - 7:15pm

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Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed an amicus brief asking the prosecution to drop charges against couple Mark and Patricia McCloskey for arming themselves to protect their home against protesters who broke into the private St. Louis community.

The gun-related charges were filed Monday by St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, following the June 28 incident that has attracted national attention. 

Schmidt laid out three primary arguments in his brief: 

  • Self-defense is the "core lawful purpose" and the "central component" of the right to keep and bear arms enshrined in both the U.S. Constitution's Second Amendment and the Missouri Constitution.
  • Missouri has adopted one of the strongest versions of "castle doctrine," a legal doctrine that expressly authorizes the use of force to defend the security of one's person, family, home, and property.
  • The highly publicized prosecution of Missouri citizens for exercising their right to keep and bear arms in defense of their home and family sends a powerful message to all Missourians: "You exercise your right to keep and bear arms in self-defense at your peril." If you do so, you may be targeted with criminal prosecution, even though your fundamental right to defend yourself is deeply rooted in Missouri's history and traditions, and protected by Missouri's Constitution and statutes.

The McCloskeys were inside their home when demonstrators who were marching to the St. Louis mayor's home breached the gate of their private community.

The McCloskeys, who say they were in fear of the demonstrators, came out onto their front lawn and brandished guns. The pictures and video of the incident went viral over the internet.

Gardner has also issued a summons to the married couple to appear in court late next month in connection to the charges.

Critics of Gardner suggest the charges are politically motivated, and point out that she is running for re-election in the August 4 primary on her signature criminal justice reform platform. 

President Trump, Missouri Gov. Michael Parson, and Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley have publicly objected to the prosecution of the McCloskeys.