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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/second-amendment" (Page 2)

First-time gun ownership skyrockets amid protests, riots, increased violence across country: ‘You can’t really be too safe’

Westlake Legal Group first-time-gun-ownership-skyrockets-amid-protests-riots-increased-violence-across-country-you-cant-really-be-too-safe First-time gun ownership skyrockets amid protests, riots, increased violence across country: 'You can't really be too safe' Stephanie Pagones fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/north-carolina fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/second-amendment fox-news/us/crime fox-news/news-events fox news fnc/us fnc ee6f6f98-3651-56dd-980d-5554c222dd65 article

For years, Carlene and Jake went back and forth about purchasing a firearm.

The young parents from California – who did not feel comfortable using their last names or more specific identifiers when they spoke with Fox News on Sunday out of concern about possible backlash – said with the country “a little bit on edge right now,” it was the right time to make the purchase.

The couple is among the hoard of 2.5 million first-time gun buyers who have exercised their Second Amendment right to own weapons. The told Fox News they have received their licenses and are now waiting for their firearms to arrive because they’re on backorder.

GUN, AMMO SALES SURGING AMID CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC, CIVIL UNREST: SURVEY

“With everything going on in both the world and politics and everything, you can’t really be too safe,” Carlene said. “We have a family, a young family, so I think that’s always on the back of my mind, as well. I think with a lot of the riots and such like that, it’s important to – if your First Amendment isn’t protected, I guess you always have the second, right?”

She added: “Overall, our country is a little bit on edge right now.”

“We all have our own political standpoints and things like that, but these movements to, you know, defund the police, and these movements of Antifa and what they bring, it’s definitely on the back of my mind,” she said. “Do I feel threatened every day? No. But I would say that I did contribute to our decision of finally pulling the trigger, no pun intended, on purchasing.”

A “family history of events” also contributed to their decision, but Carlene noted they also intend to use the guns recreationally. They are both making plans to enroll in handgun safety training.

Westlake Legal Group Gun-Stores-Getty-2 First-time gun ownership skyrockets amid protests, riots, increased violence across country: 'You can't really be too safe' Stephanie Pagones fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/north-carolina fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/second-amendment fox-news/us/crime fox-news/news-events fox news fnc/us fnc ee6f6f98-3651-56dd-980d-5554c222dd65 article

Kory Krause, owner of Frontiersman Sports, a St. Louis Park gun store whose shotgun supply and 9mm handgun supply was wiped out by customers concerned about the coronavirus pandemic. (Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune via Getty Images)

At the beginning of June, the National Shooting Sports Foundation announced that more than 2.5 million people had become first-time gun owners in the first half of 2020.

GUN SALES SOAR 145% IN JUNE AMID PROTESTS, CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

January to June 1 of 2020, was “unlike any other year for firearm purchases — particularly by first-time buyers — as new NSSF research reveals millions of people chose to purchase their first gun during the COVID-19 pandemic,” explained Jim Curcuruto, the shooting foundation’s director of research and market development, at the time.

NSSF data shows a record number of gun transactions – 10.3 million – were processed in the country during that time period.

“First off,” Curcuruto wrote in a July 21 blog post, “approximately 90 percent of retailers reported an increase in firearm and ammunition sales during the first half of 2020 versus the first half of 2019. How big are those increases? Responding retailers noted that they are seeing a 95 percent increase in firearm sales and a 139 percent increase in ammunition sales over the same period in 2019.”

When asked if she was surprised by the number of first-time buyers during the first half of 2020, Carlene said “not at all.”

“When I went into this shop, to where we purchased our guns, they’re completely on backorder,” she said. “We don’t even know actually the exact date that we’re going to get possession because they have thousands of people on backorder.”

TAMMY BRUCE: IN CHICAGO, NEW YORK, DEMS REFUSE TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR OUT-OF-CONTROL GUN VIOLENCE

Gabrielle Gray, a 26-year-old from High Point, N.C., received her gun permit in December but didn’t decide it was time to go ahead and make the purchase until two weeks ago. She bought a Smith and Wesson pistol.

Gray, a photographer who also works for an insurance broker, waited to buy after being permitted because, as she told Fox News, she was “broke.”

“I never really did save up,” she admitted. But when she received her paycheck in July and also received a bonus, she decided it was “the perfect time.”

Westlake Legal Group gabrielle-gray-001 First-time gun ownership skyrockets amid protests, riots, increased violence across country: 'You can't really be too safe' Stephanie Pagones fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/north-carolina fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/second-amendment fox-news/us/crime fox-news/news-events fox news fnc/us fnc ee6f6f98-3651-56dd-980d-5554c222dd65 article

Gabrielle Gray (Photo courtesy of Gabrielle Gray)

“Times are getting bad right now. Of course, it’s good to make sure that you protect yourself. And also, I’ve gotten into politics recently and I learned my rights,” she said on Sunday. “Crime is rising, I feel like people are getting more bold to do more things now.”

She referenced the recent rioting and looting seen across the country as well as other concerns, however, she noted those types of crimes had not been as prevalent in her area recently.

Another first-time gun buyer, who asked to remain anonymous, told Fox News they did not want to be “defenseless” amid the rioting and increased crime.”

“We also purchased a Taser, pepper spray, and stun gun in the hopes that we would never have to use any of them, especially the firearm,” the person told Fox News.

ST. LOUIS’ TOP PROSECUTOR SAYS SHE’S CHARGING COUPLE WHO FLASHED GUNS AT CROWD MARCHING TO MAYOR’S HOME

John Lovell, the co-founder of firearms training forum Warrior Poet Society, said his company has seen a 30 to 40 percent increase in traffic to its YouTube videos – its “bread and butter” – since the beginning of March.

“Everything kind of went nuts,” he told Fox News.

In addition to its YouTube activity, which includes everything from training and tips to product reviews and light-hearted clips, the company sells firearm gear and apparel.

“YouTube is up around 38 percent, month over month, where we’re usually closer to 1,500 hundred new followers every day. Our website is up about five times over our average,” Lovell said. “Those are new customers, about five times more. So we get a lot of website traffic, but every month we expect, prior to March, 631 new customers to hit our website. Whereas after March, we were seeing about 3,048 new customers.”

WPS received its highest-ever surge in new customers, with 10 times the normal amount, he said.

And it’s not just the purchases of firearms that are going up. Safety classes have skyrocketed as well.

T.J. McDermott, co-owner of the Paladin Center, a training facility in Hudson Valley, N.Y., which is roughly 60 miles north of New York City, said some classes are now selling out within an hour of being posted.

“[It’s] to the point where we’re putting multiple classes on a month – classes that we would normally schedule maybe quarterly or once every four months, we’re now doing multiple times every month.”

Now, he said, the center is scheduling an estimated three group classes per week on top of 20 to 30 hours of private instruction per week.

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Marilyn Miller, one of Paladin’s firearms instructors, said she’s recently been teaching people who told her they “never would have thought of buying a gun until recently.”

“I went from a couple of students a week to probably at least a dozen a week,” she said. “Couples are bringing their kids, ages 14, 15, 16, all the way up to their 20s and want them all to know how to use the same gun that they’re going to keep in the house … A lot of them came in afraid of guns, and came in to try shooting before they went out and purchased a gun.”

She stressed the importance of someone being properly trained in using a gun and noted, “There’s no such thing as accidents. It’s negligence.”

“Finger is always off the trigger, nuzzle is always in a safe direction. And if you’re going to use it, know what’s behind your target,” she said. “You’ve got to be very aware.”

Westlake Legal Group Gun-Stores-Getty-2 First-time gun ownership skyrockets amid protests, riots, increased violence across country: 'You can't really be too safe' Stephanie Pagones fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/north-carolina fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/second-amendment fox-news/us/crime fox-news/news-events fox news fnc/us fnc ee6f6f98-3651-56dd-980d-5554c222dd65 article  Westlake Legal Group Gun-Stores-Getty-2 First-time gun ownership skyrockets amid protests, riots, increased violence across country: 'You can't really be too safe' Stephanie Pagones fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/north-carolina fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/second-amendment fox-news/us/crime fox-news/news-events fox news fnc/us fnc ee6f6f98-3651-56dd-980d-5554c222dd65 article

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Black armed militia planning Louisville march claims it’s ‘Not F—ing Around’

Westlake Legal Group black-armed-militia-planning-louisville-march-claims-its-not-f-ing-around Black armed militia planning Louisville march claims it’s ‘Not F---ing Around’ fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/kentucky fox-news/us/us-protests fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/second-amendment fox-news/us/personal-freedoms fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox news fnc/us fnc Dom Calicchio article 31405675-9120-54d4-b5c4-bb947a43a07e
Westlake Legal Group 111519_do_floridaguns_1280 Black armed militia planning Louisville march claims it’s ‘Not F---ing Around’ fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/kentucky fox-news/us/us-protests fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/second-amendment fox-news/us/personal-freedoms fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox news fnc/us fnc Dom Calicchio article 31405675-9120-54d4-b5c4-bb947a43a07e

Grand Master Jay, head of the “Not F—ing Around Coalition,” refers to the U.S. Constitution when talking about his Black armed militia group, which plans to march in Louisville, Ky., on Saturday.

“Once it gets to that point where it looks like the government is non-responsive to the will of the people, the Constitution says to the form of a militia to address the grievances of the people,” he told Louisville FOX affiliate WDRB-TV.

“I didn’t write it,” he says about one of America’s founding documents. “They wrote it. We just abide by it. So that’s our destination, because when it looks like the government is being indifferent to the people, the people have the right to form themselves – and arm themselves — to ask those questions.”

TAMPA BAY RAYS CALL FOR ARREST OF OFFICERS INVOLVED IN BREONNA TAYLOR’S SHOOTING DEATH

The focus of the group’s march, he says, will be an attempt to seek justice for Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old woman who was fatally shot March 13 during a police raid in her Louisville home.

Other militias also plan to be in the area Saturday, but Major Aubrey Gregory of the Louisville Metropolitan Police says the department has a plan for maintaining peace and separating groups that have opposing political views.

“We expect nothing but a peacful protest this weekend,” Gregory told WAVE3 of Louisville.

Taylor’s death came after police executed a “no-knock warrant” at the address, in search of a drug suspect who did not live there, and no drugs were found in Taylor’s home.

Family members and supporters of Taylor have called for the officers involved in the shooting to be arrested but none of them has been charged with a crime – although the FBI launched an investigation in May after the family filed a lawsuit.

Grand Master Jay’s coalition has called for those joining its march Saturday to open-carry their weapons, wear black and remain peaceful, WDRB reported.

The group’s leader says he has already spoken with city officials about the Taylor case, hoping to see results – but is now advocating for the mayor and city council members to be replaced, the station reported.

The Louisville organization of Black Lives Matter has distanced itself from Grand Master Jay’s coalition, accusing the armed group of being “outside agitators” – noting the militia had staged a march in Stone Mountain, Ga., on July 4, WDRB reported.

On Friday, Louisville Councilman Kevin Kramer, a Republican, urged residents to stay away from the city’s downtown area on Saturday while the militia’s march is underway.

“The potential for violence will be heightened as we will more than likely have a number of highly armed groups representing very different viewpoints as well as other groups all situated within a block of each other,” Kramer told WDRB.

“While efforts are being made to ensure a safe environment to all persons present, I would caution you that the potential for violence will exist.”

He added: “I don’t have a lot of confidence that the police department is going to have the resources that they need should something go wrong.”

The Taylor case gained broader media attention after the May 25 death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis – with many supporters of Floyd’s family also backing the Taylor family’s efforts in Louisville.

In June, a Louisville police detective linked to the Taylor case was fired.

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Earlier this month, a government oversight committee in Louisville launched investigations into the deaths of Taylor and of David McAtee, a cook who was fatally shot at his restaurant by a National Guard member on May 31.

The two cases have sparked numerous protests as well as rioting in Louisville in recent weeks, including a demonstration Friday afternoon that resulted in 76 arrests, according to WDRB.

Earlier this month, authorities dropped charges against 87 protesters who occupied the front lawn at the home of Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron.

Westlake Legal Group 111519_do_floridaguns_1280 Black armed militia planning Louisville march claims it’s ‘Not F---ing Around’ fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/kentucky fox-news/us/us-protests fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/second-amendment fox-news/us/personal-freedoms fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox news fnc/us fnc Dom Calicchio article 31405675-9120-54d4-b5c4-bb947a43a07e  Westlake Legal Group 111519_do_floridaguns_1280 Black armed militia planning Louisville march claims it’s ‘Not F---ing Around’ fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/kentucky fox-news/us/us-protests fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/second-amendment fox-news/us/personal-freedoms fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox news fnc/us fnc Dom Calicchio article 31405675-9120-54d4-b5c4-bb947a43a07e

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Cal Thomas: McCloskey case shows how Dems could confiscate law-abiding Americans’ guns if in power

Westlake Legal Group cal-thomas-mccloskey-case-shows-how-dems-could-confiscate-law-abiding-americans-guns-if-in-power Cal Thomas: McCloskey case shows how Dems could confiscate law-abiding Americans' guns if in power Tribune Media Services fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/missouri fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/second-amendment fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/st-louis fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/opinion fnc/opinion fnc ec91921b-64e9-5369-86b1-b2c569bba686 Cal Thomas article
Westlake Legal Group image Cal Thomas: McCloskey case shows how Dems could confiscate law-abiding Americans' guns if in power Tribune Media Services fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/missouri fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/second-amendment fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/st-louis fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/opinion fnc/opinion fnc ec91921b-64e9-5369-86b1-b2c569bba686 Cal Thomas article

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.”

MISSOURI AG SCHMITT REACTS TO CHARGES AGAINST ARMED ST. LOUIS COUPLE: ‘ENOUGH WAS ENOUGH’

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 Gov. 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.

More from Opinion

This case is not only important on its own but demonstrates what could happen if Joe Biden wins the presidency.

In March, while the COVID-19 virus was beginning to overtake us, Biden said this about Beto O’Rourke after O’Rourke dropped out of the presidential race and endorsed Biden: “You’re going to take care of the gun problem with me. You’re going to be the one who leads this effort. I’m counting on you. I’m counting on you.”

He then added, “We need you badly, the state needs you, the country needs you. You’re the best.”

Last year while still a candidate, O’Rourke said during a debate carried by ABC News: “Hell yes, we are going to take your AR-15.” And after that, what?

CLICK HERE FOR THE OPINION NEWSLETTER

Having established a precedent that the government has a right to confiscate a weapon owned by a law-abiding citizen, what other guns would O’Rourke (and Biden) come for and on what grounds?

What would stop them if more liberal judges are named to the courts and they ignore or re-interpret the Second Amendment?

Do any of the shooters in our major cities pay attention to anti-gun laws or laws against murder? By definition they are lawbreakers and no one has been able to tell me how passing more laws will suddenly turn them into law-abiders.

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By brandishing their weapons, the McCloskeys possibly deterred the marchers outside their home from engaging in actions far worse than their alleged trespassing. If they are convicted, they should be immediately pardoned by the governor.

This should be a lesson learned about one of the many dangers of a Joe Biden presidency.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM CAL THOMAS

Westlake Legal Group image Cal Thomas: McCloskey case shows how Dems could confiscate law-abiding Americans' guns if in power Tribune Media Services fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/missouri fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/second-amendment fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/st-louis fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/opinion fnc/opinion fnc ec91921b-64e9-5369-86b1-b2c569bba686 Cal Thomas article  Westlake Legal Group image Cal Thomas: McCloskey case shows how Dems could confiscate law-abiding Americans' guns if in power Tribune Media Services fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/missouri fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/second-amendment fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/st-louis fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/opinion fnc/opinion fnc ec91921b-64e9-5369-86b1-b2c569bba686 Cal Thomas article

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Gun, ammo sales surging amid coronavirus pandemic, civil unrest: survey

Westlake Legal Group gun-ammo-sales-surging-amid-coronavirus-pandemic-civil-unrest-survey Gun, ammo sales surging amid coronavirus pandemic, civil unrest: survey Lucas Manfredi fox-news/us/us-protests fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/second-amendment fox-news/us/crime fox-news/health/infectious-disease/coronavirus fox news fnc/us fnc article 00aa899b-0faf-5531-9382-750a83239ec8

Gun sales have increased 95 percent while ammunition sales have increased 139 percent compared to the same period last year, according to a new survey by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF).

Retailers nationwide reported a record 10.3 million firearm transactions in the first half of 2020, with approximately 92 percent reporting an increase in ammuniation sales and 87 percent reporting an increase in firearm sales, the NSSF survey reveals.

The survey noted that the demographics of customers who purchased guns and ammo consisted of 55.8 percent White males, 16.6 percent White females, 9.3 percent Black males, 5.4 percent Black females, 6.9 percent Hispanic males, 2.2 percent Hispanic females, 3.1 percent Asian males and 0.7 percent Asian females.

Westlake Legal Group Fire-Ammunition-Graphic-1 Gun, ammo sales surging amid coronavirus pandemic, civil unrest: survey Lucas Manfredi fox-news/us/us-protests fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/second-amendment fox-news/us/crime fox-news/health/infectious-disease/coronavirus fox news fnc/us fnc article 00aa899b-0faf-5531-9382-750a83239ec8

Photo courtesy National Shooting Sports Foundation

“The highest overall firearm sales increase comes from Black men and women who show a 58.2 percent increase in purchases during the first six months of 2020 versus the same period last year,” NSSF Director of Research and Market Development Jim Curcuruto said in a statement.

White men and women had the second largest firearm sales increase at 51.9 percent, followed by Hispanic men and women at 49.4 percent, and Asian men and women at 42.9 percent.

NYPD DISMANTLES MULTI-STATE GUN RING, CONFISCATES 23 ILLEGAL FIREARMS: OFFICIALS

“Bottom line is that there has never been a sustained surge in firearm sales quite like what we are in the midst of,” Curcuto added.

The findings come as civil unrest continues across the country sparked by the death of George Floyd, who was killed in Minneapolis while in police custody on May 25, and as violent crime has been on the rise in recent weeks in cities across the United States.

Westlake Legal Group Fire-Ammunition-Graphic-2 Gun, ammo sales surging amid coronavirus pandemic, civil unrest: survey Lucas Manfredi fox-news/us/us-protests fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/second-amendment fox-news/us/crime fox-news/health/infectious-disease/coronavirus fox news fnc/us fnc article 00aa899b-0faf-5531-9382-750a83239ec8

Photo courtesy of the National Shooting Sports Foundation

US BANKS AND FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS HAVE BEEN SLOWLY SEVERING TIES WITH THE GUN INDUSTRY

According to the New York Police Department, there was a 130 percent increase in the number of shooting incidents across the city in June, while the homicide rate is up 23 percent for the first half of 2020 compared to the previous year.

In Chicago, homicides jumped 39 percent from the last week of June to the first week of July compared to the same period last year. Meanwhile, the homicide rate in Los Angeles has seen a double digit rise over the past two months.

The news also comes as the coronavirus pandemic has infected more than 3.9 million Americans, according to the latest update from Johns Hopkins University. While more than 1.2 million Americans have recovered, there were more than 142,000 deaths in the United States.

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Westlake Legal Group Gun-iStock Gun, ammo sales surging amid coronavirus pandemic, civil unrest: survey Lucas Manfredi fox-news/us/us-protests fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/second-amendment fox-news/us/crime fox-news/health/infectious-disease/coronavirus fox news fnc/us fnc article 00aa899b-0faf-5531-9382-750a83239ec8  Westlake Legal Group Gun-iStock Gun, ammo sales surging amid coronavirus pandemic, civil unrest: survey Lucas Manfredi fox-news/us/us-protests fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/second-amendment fox-news/us/crime fox-news/health/infectious-disease/coronavirus fox news fnc/us fnc article 00aa899b-0faf-5531-9382-750a83239ec8

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US banks and financial institutions have been slowly severing ties with the gun industry

Westlake Legal Group us-banks-and-financial-institutions-have-been-slowly-severing-ties-with-the-gun-industry US banks and financial institutions have been slowly severing ties with the gun industry Hollie McKay fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-jersey fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/second-amendment fox-news/us/new-york-city fox-news/politics/judiciary/economical-rights fox-news/politics/finance/banking fox-news/politics fox news fnc/us fnc article 9fbabbbd-a449-552e-ac8e-94eeaab6dd00

It is a slow and steady form of gun control gradually gaining momentum with limited public fanfare: If guns cannot be directly taken from the hands of citizens, the next best target is the banks and financial institutions that enable transactions or loans for the industry.

Vining posted a call between himself at the California-based company on YouTube and told Fox News that they are no longer using PayPal for anything, personal or business-related at all, and don’t intend to go back.

“It’s a constant struggle when it comes to conducting anything that is legitimate and small arms-related in the current political climate,” he said.

In April, several Republican senators penned a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, expressing concern that “several of the nation’s systemically important financial institutions (SIFI), including Citibank, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase and others, continue to use their market dominance to financially discriminate against legal and compliant businesses for political reasons,” including “the firearms and ammunition industry.”

But a huge part of it has been political pressure.

Rep. Jennifer Wexton, D–Va., quietly introduced the Gun Violence Prevention Through Financial Intelligence Act late last year. This pushes for banks and credit card companies to automatically provide transaction data to the federal authorities on some firearms purchases with the goal of identifying “suspicious activity,” despite pushback that payment networks determining what is odd and what is not sets a concerning precedent.

And an increasing number of state leaders are taking aim.

In New Jersey, despite already having some of the most stringent gun laws on the books, Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order last September that mandated information from banks detailing their relationships, practices, and policies regarding gun manufacturers and sellers. The order allows lawmakers to squeeze major financial institutions to step in line or risk losing the state’s business.

But Jersey is not the only state taking matters into their own hands and going to battle with the firearms industry.

Late last year, Connecticut state Treasurer Shawn Wooden – who oversees $37 billion in public pension funds – announced plans to redistribute $30 million worth of shares in civilian firearm manufacturer securities. As part of the initiative, officially termed the Responsible Gun Policy, Wooden also intends to ban firearms-related investments in the future, in addition to putting in place a number of incentives for banks and financial institutions who adopt anti-gun protocols.

GUN SALES SOAR 145% IN JUNE AMID PROTESTS, CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

It would mark the first major move the state has taken in divesting shares in gun companies since its 2012 Newtown school shooting, which claimed the lives of 26 people, mostly children.

Meanwhile, in California, Assemblywoman Sydney Kamlager-Down, D-L.A., introduced a bill last year urging banks to stop lending to gun manufacturers and gun retailers. The measure, entitled ACR-115, “would urge all banks to discuss their lending practices with their shareholders and to adopt lending practices that mirror the people of California’s values of protecting citizens before profit.” It passed through the Assembly and is waiting for Senate approval.

And while New York’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo has stopped short of zeroing in on the banking arena, in 2018, he did instruct the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) to send guidance URGING “banks and insurance companies to consider reputational risks of having relationships with the National Rifle Association (NRA).”

Westlake Legal Group AP20151602082336 US banks and financial institutions have been slowly severing ties with the gun industry Hollie McKay fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-jersey fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/second-amendment fox-news/us/new-york-city fox-news/politics/judiciary/economical-rights fox-news/politics/finance/banking fox-news/politics fox news fnc/us fnc article 9fbabbbd-a449-552e-ac8e-94eeaab6dd00

(Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo via AP)

In 2018, the California State Teachers Retirement System – worth $222.5 billion – also voted to squeeze gun retailers into stopping weapons and accessories, a move opponents condemn as setting a concerning precedent.

The political pressure campaign ultimately started with an Obama-era initiative called Operation Chokepoint in 2013, in which the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) set about investigating the business dealings between banks and firearms companies.

“Around the time of Operation Chokepoint, we started encountering a lot of problems in finding a credit card company to do our processing,” recalled Gary Eliseo, founder of Competition Machine Inc., an Arizona-based maker of firearms accessories. “I finally did find a processor that took my business, but I had to assure them that we did not manufacture firearms.”

WHERE DOES MEXICO REALLY GET ITS GUNS?

He recalled an incident several years ago in which a customer sent out a payment for a custom rifle stock, and PayPal abruptly froze the account.

“They wouldn’t even let me return the money to the customer, they just froze the whole thing up and tried to make it into this big deal,” Eliseo said. “Financial institutions just don’t want to get involved. I hear a lot today about people having all sorts of problems with banks and financial institutions.”

Westlake Legal Group AP20122660467309-1 US banks and financial institutions have been slowly severing ties with the gun industry Hollie McKay fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-jersey fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/second-amendment fox-news/us/new-york-city fox-news/politics/judiciary/economical-rights fox-news/politics/finance/banking fox-news/politics fox news fnc/us fnc article 9fbabbbd-a449-552e-ac8e-94eeaab6dd00

The FBI conducted 2.9 million background checks related to firearms purchases in April, making it one of the busiest months for such checks. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press via AP)

Operation Chokepoint was eventually shuttered in August 2017 following controversy and lawsuits by companies that complained it circumvented due process and pressured the financial industry to sever ties with the firearms industry, despite no evidence of wrongdoing. Yet many in the firearms industry say doing business can still be a challenge.

Electronic payment conglomerates, including PayPal, Square, and Apple Pay, have also taken a noticeable stance, and in recent years banned firearms sales and transactions through their systems. PayPal was the first to open fire – so to speak – by making the call in 2011.

“If you’re going to have a consistent set of values that you stand up for, they have to be reflected in your acceptable use policy,” chief executive Dan Schulman told the New York Times. “Companies, and by extension, their management teams and their CEO’s have a moral obligation to try to be a force for good.”

GUN-RELATED ONLINE BUSINESSES BEMOAN GROWING BIG TECH’S SUPPRESSION OF THE SECOND AMENDMENT

And over the past few years, and especially in the wake of the 2016 Orlando nightclub terrorist attack, financial institutions have been cast under even more scrutiny. Several not-for-profit organizations convened to publish “Is Your Bank Loaded?” The report includes a scorecard for the 15 biggest banks, based on the accord between financing and firearms, their stance and statements concerning gun control, sponsorship of pro-gun groups, and campaign donations.

Citibank garnered the highest rank – a B. In March 2018, its parent company Citigroup paved the Wall Street way as the first to announce that it would approve a mandate which requires all its retail clients not to sell firearms to customers under the age of 21 and prohibits its customers from selling bump stocks and other devices deemed to “increase the firing rate of semi-automatic guns.”

A month later, Bank of America said that it would put a halt on lending money “to gun manufacturers that make military-style” weapons and emphasized that as a company it was purporting to figure out what it could do to “help end the tragedy of mass shootings.”

The Berkshire Bank – which had formerly issued a line of credit to Sig Sauer – the creator of the MCX rifle used in the Orlando nightclub terrorist attack in 2016 – also announced in 2018 that it would break off lending liaisons with the manufacturer.

And for some financial institutions, the anti-gun approach has doubled down as a marketing move, too. America’s largest union-owned bank, Amalgamated Bank, has launched a campaign billing itself as “America’s socially responsible bank” and urging its cohorts and customers to speak with their wallets and “join the movement.”

According to Watson, financial service providers that “get political and discriminate against legitimate customers shouldn’t be getting taxpayer-funded bailouts or subsidies.”

“This is nothing less than government-subsidized gun control,” he asserted.

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-bd50fddb2c0a40d6b7fc1dbfec9c36f0 US banks and financial institutions have been slowly severing ties with the gun industry Hollie McKay fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-jersey fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/second-amendment fox-news/us/new-york-city fox-news/politics/judiciary/economical-rights fox-news/politics/finance/banking fox-news/politics fox news fnc/us fnc article 9fbabbbd-a449-552e-ac8e-94eeaab6dd00

Sheriff Deputies walk through the parking lot after a shooting at a Walmart store Tuesday, July 30, 2019 in Southaven, Miss. A gunman fatally shot two people and wounded a police officer before he was shot and arrested Tuesday at the Walmart in northern Mississippi, authorities said. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)

Nonetheless, pro-Second Amendment businesses say that the roadblocks are forcing them to come up with creative solutions to stay afloat. Numerous gun and accessories devotees have set up their own card processing business specifically for the firearms industry, such as Stephen Bozich, who launched BareArms.com more than three years ago, with a focus on selling unfinished guns.

Larry Lopata also created his own crowdfunding site, GunDynamics.com, in 2018 to fill an industry void, given that the prominent crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo also don’t allow users to raise money for innovative weapons enterprises.

And at least for now, there are still some banks, credit card networks, and lenders that maintain that their customers are entitled to privacy and that it is not their corporate obligation to dictate what legal products Americans can and cannot buy.

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Wells Fargo, in spite of receiving an “F” on the gun-control scorecard,  has remained resolute in its defense of the $14 billion-a-year legal industry. The bank has continued to issue multimillion-dollar lines of credit to the likes of Sturm, Ruger & Co., but over the past year has downplayed gun lobby links.

Mastercard and Visa Inc. have also said they will not stop customers from making lawful purchases.

“We are guided by the federal laws in a country, and our job is to create and to facilitate fair and secure commerce,” Chairman and CEO Alfred Kelly said on CNBC last August. “If we start to get in the mode of being legislators, it’s a very slippery slope. We shouldn’t be determining what’s right or wrong in terms of people’s purchases.”

Westlake Legal Group image US banks and financial institutions have been slowly severing ties with the gun industry Hollie McKay fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-jersey fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/second-amendment fox-news/us/new-york-city fox-news/politics/judiciary/economical-rights fox-news/politics/finance/banking fox-news/politics fox news fnc/us fnc article 9fbabbbd-a449-552e-ac8e-94eeaab6dd00  Westlake Legal Group image US banks and financial institutions have been slowly severing ties with the gun industry Hollie McKay fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-jersey fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/second-amendment fox-news/us/new-york-city fox-news/politics/judiciary/economical-rights fox-news/politics/finance/banking fox-news/politics fox news fnc/us fnc article 9fbabbbd-a449-552e-ac8e-94eeaab6dd00

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Missouri AG Schmitt reacts to charges against armed St. Louis couple: ‘Enough was enough’

Westlake Legal Group missouri-ag-schmitt-reacts-to-charges-against-armed-st-louis-couple-enough-was-enough Missouri AG Schmitt reacts to charges against armed St. Louis couple: 'Enough was enough' Julia Musto fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/missouri fox-news/us/us-protests fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/second-amendment fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/us/crime fox-news/us/constitution fox-news/shows/hannity fox-news/shows/americas-newsroom fox-news/politics/executive/law fox-news/politics fox-news/person/george-floyd fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 36bf26cb-13fb-5b93-9f65-5cdf2d0955f0

The charges being brought against a St. Louis couple who went viral last month after brandishing guns at a crowd of protesters amount to “nothing more than [a] political prosection,” Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt remarked Tuesday.

In an interview on “America’s Newsroom,”  Schmitt told host Bill Hemmer that the Second Amendment is in the state’s Constitution and that Missouri has “one of the strongest Castle Doctrines in the country.”

HAWLEY CALLS FOR PROBE OF ST. LOUIS PROSECUTOR FOR CHARGES AGAINST ARMED COUPLE: ‘TEXTBOOK’ ABUSE OF POWER

“And, what it says is that you have the right to defend yourself, the lives of your family members, your home, and your property. That extends to your property. So, this is on private property,” he said.

Schmitt noted that in a time where residents are calling to defund the police and “violence [is] spinning out of control” in places like St. Louis, “somebody [has] got to do something about” prosectors like Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner who are “targeting law-abiding citizens for exercising their fundamental right of self-defense.”

Westlake Legal Group Mark-and-Patricia-McCloskey-2-Reuters Missouri AG Schmitt reacts to charges against armed St. Louis couple: 'Enough was enough' Julia Musto fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/missouri fox-news/us/us-protests fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/second-amendment fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/us/crime fox-news/us/constitution fox-news/shows/hannity fox-news/shows/americas-newsroom fox-news/politics/executive/law fox-news/politics fox-news/person/george-floyd fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 36bf26cb-13fb-5b93-9f65-5cdf2d0955f0

A couple draws their firearms on protestors as they enter their neighbourhood during a protest against St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson, in St. Louis, Mo., U.S. June 28, 2020, in this picture grab obtained from a social media video. Daniel Shular/via REUTERS 

“And, I felt like enough was enough. So, I’m stepping in to enter into the case here and have the case dismissed,” he said. “These individuals were, you know, protecting their property and this has broader implications too, Bill. If you have a high-profile prosecution like this, it could have a chilling effect on other citizens exercising, again, their fundamental rights of self-dense. And, so, we decided to take a stand.”

Gardner argued Monday that Mark and Patricia McCloskey – both personal injury attorneys in their 60s – were exhibiting “unlawful” behavior by waving their guns “in a threatening manner.”

However, within hours of Gardner’s ruling, Schmitt filed a brief seeking to dismiss the charges on the grounds that the couple’s Second Amendment rights were being violated.

Later that day, Missouri Gov. Mike Parsons told “Hannity” that “without a doubt,” he would pardon the McCloskeys who are “being attacked frankly by a political process.”

“She has a track record of making political decisions when it comes to the law. And, my job is to stand up for the rule of law,” Schmitt said.

“The fact of the matter is, the Castle Doctrine, defending your property, it’s not even an affirmative defense that you raised. It means that under these circumstances and the charges that were brought – the unlawful use of a weapon – it’s not even a crime,” he added.

According to Schmitt, Gardner’s charges — which he says are baseless — have “broad implications.”

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“If Missourians feel like they cannot exercise their fundamental right of self-defense, that’s a serious problem. [This] is why as attorney general, the state’s chief law enforcement officer, I decided to step in here,” he said.

“So, this will play out over a period of weeks, I’m sure. But, we’re right on the law and we look forward to the day that the charges are in fact dismissed,” the attorney general concluded.

Fox News’ Louis Casiano, Bradford Betz, Charles Creitz, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group ed52e1fb-image Missouri AG Schmitt reacts to charges against armed St. Louis couple: 'Enough was enough' Julia Musto fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/missouri fox-news/us/us-protests fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/second-amendment fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/us/crime fox-news/us/constitution fox-news/shows/hannity fox-news/shows/americas-newsroom fox-news/politics/executive/law fox-news/politics fox-news/person/george-floyd fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 36bf26cb-13fb-5b93-9f65-5cdf2d0955f0  Westlake Legal Group ed52e1fb-image Missouri AG Schmitt reacts to charges against armed St. Louis couple: 'Enough was enough' Julia Musto fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/missouri fox-news/us/us-protests fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/second-amendment fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/us/crime fox-news/us/constitution fox-news/shows/hannity fox-news/shows/americas-newsroom fox-news/politics/executive/law fox-news/politics fox-news/person/george-floyd fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 36bf26cb-13fb-5b93-9f65-5cdf2d0955f0

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Hawley calls for probe of St. Louis prosecutor for charges against armed couple: ‘Textbook’ abuse of power

Westlake Legal Group hawley-calls-for-probe-of-st-louis-prosecutor-for-charges-against-armed-couple-textbook-abuse-of-power Hawley calls for probe of St. Louis prosecutor for charges against armed couple: 'Textbook' abuse of power Julia Musto fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/missouri fox-news/us/us-protests fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/second-amendment fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/us/crime fox-news/us/constitution fox-news/shows/fox-friends fox-news/politics/executive/law fox-news/politics fox-news/person/william-barr fox-news/person/george-floyd fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc e562fc4e-d1a8-52d7-90c1-a251f8ba0b00 article

The case against a St. Louis couple who went viral after brandishing guns at a crowd of protesters marching to the mayor’s home last month is a “textbook” abuse of powerMissouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley said Tuesday.

In an interview on “Fox & Friends,” Hawley told host Steve Doocy that Mark and Patricia McCloskey – both personal injury attorneys in their 60s – had “the right to do what they did.”

ST. LOUIS’ TOP PROSECUTOR SAYS SHE’S CHARGING COUPLE WHO FLASHED GUNS AT CROWD MARCHING TO MAYOR’S HOME

“Let’s just review the facts: they’re on their own property, they were carrying lawful firearms that they lawfully possessed, and there were trespassers who had broken down a gate and were coming onto their property, and [the] couple said, ‘Get off our property! I mean, don’t hurt us. Get off of our area!'” he said. “And, they had every right to do that.”

On Monday, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner announced she would charge the couple with felony unlawful use of a weapon

Westlake Legal Group Mark-and-Patricia-McCloskey-1-Reuters Hawley calls for probe of St. Louis prosecutor for charges against armed couple: 'Textbook' abuse of power Julia Musto fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/missouri fox-news/us/us-protests fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/second-amendment fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/us/crime fox-news/us/constitution fox-news/shows/fox-friends fox-news/politics/executive/law fox-news/politics fox-news/person/william-barr fox-news/person/george-floyd fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc e562fc4e-d1a8-52d7-90c1-a251f8ba0b00 article

Mark and Patricia McCloskey drawing their firearms on the crowd marching toward St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson’s home last month. On Monday, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner announced criminal charges against the couple. (DANIEL SHULAR/via REUTERS, File)

“It is illegal to wave weapons in a threatening manner — that is unlawful in the city of St. Louis,” Gardner said in a statement. She added that she was recommending a diversion program as an alternative to jail if the McCloskeys are convicted.

However, within hours of the ruling, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed a brief seeking to dismiss Gardner’s charges on the grounds that the couple’s Second Amendment rights are being violated.

“The right to keep and bear arms is given the highest level of protection in our Constitution and our laws, including the Castle Doctrine, which provides broad rights to Missourians who are protecting their property and lives from those who wish to do them harm,” Schmitt said in a prepared statement provided to Fox News.

“Despite this, Circuit Attorney Gardner filed suit against the McCloskeys, who, according to published reports, were defending their property and safety. As Missouri’s Chief law enforcement officer, I won’t stand by while Missouri law is being ignored,” he added.

On the same night, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson told “Hannity” that “without a doubt,” he will pardon the McCloskeys.

“Without a doubt, Sean,” he said when asked about a pardon. “I will do everything within the Constitution of the State of Missouri to protect law-abiding citizens and those people are exactly that. They are law-abiding citizens, and they’re being attacked frankly by a political process that’s really unfortunate.”

The McCloskeys have said they were defending themselves, with tensions high in St. Louis amid nationwide police protests sparked by the police custody death of George Floyd. The McCloskeys said that the crowd of demonstrators broke an iron gate marked with “No Trespassing” and “Private Street” signs and that some violently threatened them.

Hawley confirmed that he has since penned a letter to Attorney General William Barr asking him to launch an investigation into the case.

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“And, here’s the other piece of it that is really important here: this same prosecutor has had dozens, dozens of violent rioters and looters brought to her by the St. Louis Police Department and she hasn’t prosecuted them,” he said. “She’s let them go. She’s turned them back out onto the street and then she goes after this couple who are absolutely entitled under the United States Constitution, the Missouri Constitution, and Missouri law to protect their own property. It’s a terrible miscarriage of justice.”

Fox News’ Louis Casiano, Bradford Betz, Charles Creitz, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 40ddb2ca-image Hawley calls for probe of St. Louis prosecutor for charges against armed couple: 'Textbook' abuse of power Julia Musto fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/missouri fox-news/us/us-protests fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/second-amendment fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/us/crime fox-news/us/constitution fox-news/shows/fox-friends fox-news/politics/executive/law fox-news/politics fox-news/person/william-barr fox-news/person/george-floyd fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc e562fc4e-d1a8-52d7-90c1-a251f8ba0b00 article  Westlake Legal Group 40ddb2ca-image Hawley calls for probe of St. Louis prosecutor for charges against armed couple: 'Textbook' abuse of power Julia Musto fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/missouri fox-news/us/us-protests fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/second-amendment fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/us/crime fox-news/us/constitution fox-news/shows/fox-friends fox-news/politics/executive/law fox-news/politics fox-news/person/william-barr fox-news/person/george-floyd fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc e562fc4e-d1a8-52d7-90c1-a251f8ba0b00 article

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Missouri AG calls felony charges against armed Missouri homeowners ‘a political prosecution’

Westlake Legal Group missouri-ag-calls-felony-charges-against-armed-missouri-homeowners-a-political-prosecution Missouri AG calls felony charges against armed Missouri homeowners 'a political prosecution' fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/missouri fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/second-amendment fox-news/us fox news fnc/us fnc faa9d66a-c4be-534e-a6ee-ac2ee5629cde David Aaro article

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt said on Monday that he is seeking to have felony charges against armed St. Louis homeowners dismissed, calling it “a political prosecution” brought by the city’s top prosecutor.

In an interview on “Fox News @ Night” with host Shannon Bream, Schmitt argued the right to self-defense is “deeply rooted” in the constitution and said the state has an expansive “castle doctrine,” which “gives broad authority to individuals to protect their lives, the lives of their family members, their homes, and their property.”

“At a time when there’s calls to defund the police, at a time with skyrocketing violent crime rates — including here in Missouri and in St. Louis — we’ve got a prosecutor now targeting individuals for exercising their fundamental rights under the second amendment,” Schmitt said.

MISSOURI AG MOVES TO DISMISS CHARGES AGAINST COUPLE WHO POINTED GUNS AT CROWD

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, the city’s top prosecutor, said Mark and Patricia McCloskey — both personal injury attorneys in their 60s — will be charged with felony unlawful use of a weapon following the June 28 incident.

“It is illegal to wave weapons in a threatening manner — that is unlawful in the city of St. Louis,” Gardner said in a statement.

The McCloskeys have said they were defending themselves, with tensions high in St. Louis amid nationwide police protests sparked by the police custody death of George Floyd. The McCloskeys said that the crowd of demonstrators broke an iron gate marked with “No Trespassing” and “Private Street” signs and that some violently threatened them.

Westlake Legal Group armed-couple Missouri AG calls felony charges against armed Missouri homeowners 'a political prosecution' fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/missouri fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/second-amendment fox-news/us fox news fnc/us fnc faa9d66a-c4be-534e-a6ee-ac2ee5629cde David Aaro article

Armed homeowners standing in front of their house along Portland Place confront protesters as they march to Mayor Lyda Krewson’s house on Sunday, June 28, 2020, in the Central West End in St. Louis. (Laurie Skrivan/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

The husband and wife maintained they were protecting their home. St. Louis police seized the rifle from the home pursuant to a search warrant. No shots were fired but the incident quickly went viral and fueled the debate over rights property owners have when confronted with perceived threats.

ST. LOUIS’ TOP PROSECUTOR SAYS SHE’S CHARGING COUPLE WHO FLASHED GUNS AT CROWD MARCHING TO MAYOR’S HOME

Schmitt on Monday noted how the incident was on a private street and said you have a right to “defend your castle” under Missouri law.

“This is a politically motivated prosecution by a prosecutor whose not interesting in prosecuting violent crimes, he added.

Schmitt added that he is seeking to have the case dismissed “not just for the McCloskeys, but for every Missourian whose rights are threatened by a rogue prosecutor who seeks to punish people for exercising their fundamental right to self-defense.”

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Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, said last Friday he would consider pardoning the couple should they be criminally charged.

Fox News’ Bradford Betz and Louis Casiano contributed to this report

Westlake Legal Group image Missouri AG calls felony charges against armed Missouri homeowners 'a political prosecution' fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/missouri fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/second-amendment fox-news/us fox news fnc/us fnc faa9d66a-c4be-534e-a6ee-ac2ee5629cde David Aaro article  Westlake Legal Group image Missouri AG calls felony charges against armed Missouri homeowners 'a political prosecution' fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/missouri fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/second-amendment fox-news/us fox news fnc/us fnc faa9d66a-c4be-534e-a6ee-ac2ee5629cde David Aaro article

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Missouri AG moves to dismiss charges against couple who pointed guns at crowd

Westlake Legal Group missouri-ag-moves-to-dismiss-charges-against-couple-who-pointed-guns-at-crowd Missouri AG moves to dismiss charges against couple who pointed guns at crowd fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/missouri fox-news/us/us-protests fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/second-amendment fox news fnc/us fnc Bradford Betz article 99347f7f-b588-518c-af90-a1be3d532438

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt on Monday moved to dismiss charges brought by St. Louis’ top prosecutor against a couple who pointed guns at a crowd marching to the mayor’s home last month, Fox News has learned.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, the city’s top prosecutor, said Mark and Patricia McCloskey – both personal injury attorneys in their 60s – will be charged with felony unlawful use of a weapon following the June 28 incident.

“It is illegal to wave weapons in a threatening manner — that is unlawful in the city of St. Louis,” Gardner said in a statement. She added that she was recommending a diversion program as an alternative to jail if the McCloskeys are convicted.

Westlake Legal Group armed-couple Missouri AG moves to dismiss charges against couple who pointed guns at crowd fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/missouri fox-news/us/us-protests fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/second-amendment fox news fnc/us fnc Bradford Betz article 99347f7f-b588-518c-af90-a1be3d532438

Armed homeowners standing in front of their house along Portland Place confront protesters as they march to Mayor Lyda Krewson’s house on Sunday, June 28, 2020, in the Central West End in St. Louis.  (Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

Gardner declined to discuss to why Missouri’s “castle doctrine,” a law that justifies deadly force for those who are defending their homes from intruders, didn’t apply.

Within hours of the ruling, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed a brief seeking to dismiss Gardner’s charges against the McCloskeys on the grounds that their Second Amendment rights are being violated.

“The right to keep and bear arms is given the highest level of protection in our constitution and our laws, including the Castle Doctrine, which provides broad rights to Missourians who are protecting their property and lives from those who wish to do them harm,” Schmitt said in a prepared statement provided to Fox News.

WHO IS KIMBERLY GARDNER, ST. LOUIS PROSECUTOR INVESTIGATING GUN-TOTING COUPLE?

“Despite this, Circuit Attorney Gardner filed suit against the McCloskeys, who, according to published reports, were defending their property and safety. As Missouri’s Chief law enforcement officer, I won’t stand by while Missouri law is being ignored,” Schmitt said.

The brief filing says the attorney general “respectfully requests that the Court dismiss this case at the earlier possible opportunity.”

The McCloskeys have said they were defending themselves, with tensions high in St. Louis amid nationwide police protests sparked by the police custody death of George Floyd. The McCloskeys said that the crowd of demonstrators broke an iron gate marked with “No Trespassing” and “Private Street” signs and that some violently threatened them.

An attorney for the couple, Joel Schwartz, called the decision to charge “disheartening as I unequivocally believe no crime was committed.”

Supporters of the McCloskeys said they were legally defending their home.

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Several Republican leaders have condemned Gardner’s investigation, including President Trump, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson and Sen. Josh Hawley, who has urged Attorney General William Barr to undertake a civil rights investigation of Gardner. Parson said in a radio interview Friday that he would likely pardon the couple if they were charged and convicted.

Fox News’ Louis Casiano and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group armed-couple Missouri AG moves to dismiss charges against couple who pointed guns at crowd fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/missouri fox-news/us/us-protests fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/second-amendment fox news fnc/us fnc Bradford Betz article 99347f7f-b588-518c-af90-a1be3d532438  Westlake Legal Group armed-couple Missouri AG moves to dismiss charges against couple who pointed guns at crowd fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/missouri fox-news/us/us-protests fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/second-amendment fox news fnc/us fnc Bradford Betz article 99347f7f-b588-518c-af90-a1be3d532438

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St. Louis home defender Mark McCloskey updates ‘Watters’ World’ on possible charges

Westlake Legal Group image St. Louis home defender Mark McCloskey updates 'Watters' World' on possible charges Victor Garcia fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/missouri fox-news/us/us-protests fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/second-amendment fox-news/us/personal-freedoms fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/st-louis fox-news/shows/watters-world fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc article 3ac932a7-71e9-5c0d-a301-436f5be5ff17

Mark McCloskey, the St. Louis resident who along with his wife made headlines in late June for holding their legally owned firearms outside their home while protesters invaded their gated community, said Saturday he expects to be indicted for bringing out the weapons.

“I don’t know the details of the criminal aspect of this, although I think there is no criminal aspect of this,” McCloskey said during an appearance on Fox News’ “Watters’ World.”

“But I think under the technicalities of Missouri law, in order to trump up whatever the attorneys are going to have against us, we have to test-fire the weapon or make sure that it’s the gun and credibly capable of being lethal.”

MISSOURI COUPLE WHO DEFENDED HOME HAVE RIFLE SEIZED DURING POLICE SEARCH: REPORT

Authorities in St. Louis executed a search warrant July 10 at the home of McCloskey and his wife Patricia. During the search, police seized the rifle that Mark McCloskey was shown holding during the June 28 incident.

Kimberly Gardner, circuit attorney in St. Louis, had announced shortly after the incident that her office and the St. Louis Police Department would be conducting an investigation into the McCloskeys’ display of firearms.

McCloskey gushed over his wife’s defense of their property, saying he did not expect her to also display her weapon, a handgun, during the event.

“I was always surprised to see her out there facing off [the] welfare crowd,” he said. “I grabbed my rifle and I was standing up on the porch — and all of a sudden I see her in the front yard with our pistol in her hand. What a woman.”

The couple later claimed the handgun was inoperable. It was initially turned over to a lawyer representing the couple, then it too was surrendered to local authorities.

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McCloskey also criticized the local media for their coverage.

“The St. Louis media has been slandering and maligning us,” McCloskey said, describing a scathing editorial, among other coverage. “They went so far as to print a copy of a birthday card my dad gave me in 1976. … There is no limit to what they’ll do to try to make me look bad.”

“So that is how I am being treated in the press for defending my home,” McCloskey added.

Fox News’ Dom Calicchio contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group image St. Louis home defender Mark McCloskey updates 'Watters' World' on possible charges Victor Garcia fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/missouri fox-news/us/us-protests fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/second-amendment fox-news/us/personal-freedoms fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/st-louis fox-news/shows/watters-world fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc article 3ac932a7-71e9-5c0d-a301-436f5be5ff17  Westlake Legal Group image St. Louis home defender Mark McCloskey updates 'Watters' World' on possible charges Victor Garcia fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/missouri fox-news/us/us-protests fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/second-amendment fox-news/us/personal-freedoms fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/st-louis fox-news/shows/watters-world fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc article 3ac932a7-71e9-5c0d-a301-436f5be5ff17

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