A St. Louis couple who gained widespread notoriety after they brandished guns outside their opulent home as a Black Lives Matter protest passed by last month have been charged with felony unlawful use of a weapon.
Mark and Patricia McCloskey both face one felony count for their actions during a peaceful protest June 28.
Mark McCloskey held an AR-15 rifle and his wife held a semiautomatic handgun outside of their mansion while exchanging words with the protesters.
The McCloskeys claimed they felt threatened by the protesters, since some earlier protests had led to unrest following the death of George Floyd.
In interviews, the couple have said they were protecting themselves from a “mob” that would have killed them and seized their property, but video showed protesters passing without confronting the McCloskeys.
Critics have said that the couple’s actions were extreme and unjustified, with prosecutor Kimberly Gardner releasing a statement after the incident that she was “alarmed” the demonstrators were “met by guns and a violent assault.”
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Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, has indicated he will pardon the couple, saying in an interview Friday, “By all means, I would.”
The couple have widely been defended among conservatives, who argue they were properly using their Second Amendment rights to defend their property. That includes President Donald Trump, whose reelection campaign featured the McCloskeys in a virtual event last week.
After the AR-15 Mark McCloskey brandished was seized, the couple received at least 50 offers for a free AR-15 to replace it.
McCloskeys charged with felonies for waving guns during protests (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)