For years conservative groups and especially the National Rifle Association have been warning that the government would find a way to confiscate the guns of law-abiding Americans. Many dismissed what they regarded as a scare tactic designed to raise money.
What is happening in St. Louis should awaken us to the fact that those fears are well founded.
The top prosecutor in St. Louis has charged a married couple with “felony unlawful use of a weapon for displaying guns during a racial injustice protest outside their mansion.”
Mark and Patricia McCloskey, who the media identify as being “white,” are in their 60s. Both are personal injury attorneys. Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner says their actions risked creating a violent situation during an otherwise “peaceful protest” last month.
Doesn’t Gardner have it backwards?
The gun owners, who say protesters had trespassed on their property, claim they were protecting their home from what could have turned into a violent mob as they no doubt had seen happen on TV in other cities. A case could be made that their display of weapons prevented violence, which is one of the purposes of the Second Amendment. Having a gun for personal protection can be a deterrent without it ever being fired. The McCloskeys did not fire their guns, but only waved them at the protesters while yelling at them.
The McCloskeys have some powerful defenders, including President Trump and Missouri Governor Mike Parson, a Republican, who has said he will pardon the couple if they are convicted. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) is another supporter. Hawley has asked Attorney General William Barr to begin an investigation to determine whether the McCloskey’s civil rights have been violated.
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt is also on the side of the McCloskeys. Schmitt has filed a brief with the court that says in part, “The right to keep and bear arms is given the highest level of protection in our Constitution and our laws, including the Castle Doctrine.” The Castle law was passed in 2017 and provides for “stand your ground” protection for citizens who feel threatened by others.
Police seized Mark McCloskey’s semi-automatic weapon and Patricia McCloskey later voluntarily surrendered her pistol.
Readers may email Cal Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org. Look for Cal Thomas’ new book “America’s Expiration Date: The Fall of Empires and Superpowers and the Future of the United States” (HarperCollins/Zondervan).