The McCloskeys rose to prominence for, more or less, doing what any of us would have done. During the height of the George Floyd riots, the couple stepped outside of their home in an effort to protect it from what they saw as a rampaging mob.
However, prosecutors there decided to score political points by going after the couple.
They were eventually pardoned. As such, they wanted their guns back–the weapons were taken by police as evidence for their prosecution. I can’t say that I blame them. I’d want them back too.
Unfortunately, it looks like they won’t get them.
It appears that Mark and Patricia McCloskey will not be getting his guns back. A court order filed Wednesday says that the couple’s pardon did not include the return of their weapons.
The couple made headlines in 2020 by waving the weapons at racial injustice protesters. The city of St. Louis seized the weapons before Missouri Governor Mike Parson pardoned them.
The McCloskeys created a plea deal on the initial case, with them pleading to a lesser charge and agreeing to surrender their weapons, which would then be destroyed. After the deal, Governor Parson pardoned them.
They returned to court to argue the pardon should enable them to get their weapons back. The Court rules the pardon only removed the conviction, and not the plea to surrender weapons.
It is still not clear when the weapons will be destroyed. FOX 2 has reached out to St. Louis police for a comment. The McCloskey’s may ask a higher court for a decision in the matter.
Is this right? Or, more accurately, is this correct from a legal standpoint?
I honestly don’t know. I’m not a lawyer, nor did I play one on TV. I won’t pretend to understand this aspect of the law. It would seem to me that if they were pardoned, there’s no barrier to returning their property. If the McCloskeys appeal, I can’t say that I’d blame them.
No, I don’t know that they’d win, but I wouldn’t blame them.
Of course, at some point, one would have to wonder if it would make more financial sense just to buy replacement guns instead of racking up extensive legal bills trying to get back these two weapons. Sure, there may be some sentimental value, but absent that, extended courtroom battles aren’t going to make a lot of sense.
That’s purely from a financial standpoint.
There’s also the moral standpoint. Is it right that they can’t get their weapons back? There I feel qualified to speak, and that’s basically to say the gun should be returned.
Look, when the government wins a case and guns are surrendered, it’s not because the guns themselves are the problem, but because the individuals in question have been found to be untrustworthy to possess them. So, the government takes the guns and does whatever with them.
Yet the McCloskeys were pardoned. The governor basically wiped their slate clean.
As such, the government has no right to retain the couple’s lawful property. It should return the guns immediately.
And on that note, the McCloskeys’ efforts matter and I hope they take it to the next step up the judicial ladder. What’s right is what’s right, after all.
The thing is, the law isn’t actually about right and wrong, but legal and illegal, so we’ll have to see how this shakes out.