A couple in St. Louis who had their firearms confiscated after brandishing an AR-15 and a handgun at Black Lives Matter protesters have been sent 50 offers of free AR-15s. President Trump has also voiced his support for the couple.
Mark and Patricia McCloskey became an internet sensation last month after a video went viral of the couple holding their firearms outside their St. Louis home while a group of protesters passed by on their way through a private neighborhood. The couple has been under investigation by St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, and police seized their firearms as part of that investigation.
Joel Schwartz, the McCloskeys’ criminal defense lawyer, told Forbes that a Missouri gun store—Alien Armory Tactical—“along with 50 people” have contacted the pair and offered to replace the AR-15. Schwartz says his clients are “kindly refusing” the gesture.
In a Facebook post, Alien Armory Tactical also offered free firearms training.
Even though the BLM protesters had trespassed on private property, and the McCloskeys claim some of them threatened the couple with violence, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner has vowed to prosecute the pair.
Gardner has faced criticism for being weak on crime in the infamously violent city, but she’s not holding back in her pursuit of the McCloskeys.
She has yet to file charges, but she issued a statement on Twitter voicing her “alarm” at reports stating that “peaceful protesters” were met by “guns and violent assault.” She vowed to “use the full power of Missouri law” to hold those accountable who threatened the protesters.
President Trump, Missouri Governor Mike Parson, and Missouri Senator Josh Hawley have criticized Gardner and voiced support for the McCloskeys.
The President retweeted a video on June 29 of the couple defending their home, and he defended the couple during an interview with Townhall.
“They were going to be beat up badly, and the house was going to be totally ransacked and probably burned down like they tried to burn down churches,” the president said.
Gov. Parson pointed to Missouri’s comprehensive castle doctrine law to defend the pair.
“That couple had every right to protect their property. They had the ability to do that as private citizens, like everyone else. What they should not go through is a prosecutor attempting to take their constitutional rights away by filing charges against them for protecting their property,” Gov. Parson said.
Sen. Hawley issued a letter to U.S. Attorney General William Barr urging him to investigate Gardner for a possible infringement on the McCloskey’s civil liberties.
“This is an unacceptable abuse of power and threat to the Second Amendment, and I urge you to consider a federal civil rights investigation into the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office to determine whether this investigation and impeding prosecution violates this family’s constitutional rights,” he said.
Gardner responded in an interview with the Washington Post by claiming that the attacks by Trump, Parson, and Hawley are racially motivated. Gardner was the first African American to head the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office.
“This is a modern-day night ride, and everybody knows it,” she told the Post, referring to attacks on African American neighborhoods perpetrated by the Ku Klux Klan. “And for a president to participate in it, in the larger context of racism and cronyism, is scary.”