The gun Patricia McCloskey waved at a mob surrounding her home last month was inoperable at the time, but the St. Louis prosecutor’s office ordered the city’s crime lab to re-assemble it into working order after confiscating the firearm, according to a local Missouri TV station reporting Wednesday.
Missouri law requires the government to prove firearms be “readily” capable of fatal harm in order to score a conviction based on the charges filed against McCloskey and her husband this week for their attempt to use legal weapons to deter rioters from their home. Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner charged Patricia and her husband Mark McCloskey each with unlawful use of a weapon, a felony that can carry up to four years in prison, for defending their $1.15 million home.
— Daniel Shular (@xshularx) June 29, 2020
According to 5 On Your Side, Assistant Circuit Attorney Chris Hinckley directed crime lab staff to take apart Patricia’s firearm. They then discovered it was put together incorrectly, making it incapable of operation. In other words, Patricia might as well have been waving around a Super Soaker. Gun experts at the lab, according to the local NBC affiliate based on charging documents in the case, reconstructed the weapon correctly and successfully test-fired it.
Attorney Joel Schwartz, who is representing the McCloskeys, who are personal injury lawyers, told 5 On Your Side the McCloskeys purposefully misplaced the weapon’s firing pin to make it incapable of shooting.
“It’s disheartening to learn that a law enforcement agency altered evidence in order to prosecute an innocent member of the community,” Schwartz told the local news.
The June episode in which the couple made good use of their constitutional right to protect themselves has become a rallying cry for Second Amendment advocates pointing to it as prime example of why gun rights are needed. The case garnering national attention has earned the McCloskeys several appearances on prime-time news and even the interest of the White House, which has come to the Missouri couple’s support.
Missouri Republican Attorney General Eric Schmitt formally requested the case be dismissed and the state’s Republican Gov. Mike Parson has pledged to grant them a pardon if they are convicted by the activist prosecutor.