A bill centered on self-defense that is making its way through the Missouri state legislature has sparked outrage for its possible consequences which, critics say, would all but make legal the killings of Black people, in particular.
Missouri Senate Bill 666 (yes, really) is being described by its Republican sponsor as an effort to loosen gun laws in the state. But a top prosecutor in Missouri has said the bill — if it is enacted — would shield killers from prosecution if they claim defense, giving the state its own unique spin on the controversial Stand Your Ground laws sprinkled around the country. A former Congressional candidate took it a step further and suggested that the legal “lynching of Black men” would ensure if the Missouri General Assembly advances the bill.
Lindsey Simmons, who was a candidate in the 2020 elections for Missouri Congress, injected race into the equation when she referred to Mark and Patricia McCloskey, a St. Louis couple who brandished guns at peaceful Black Lives Matter protests as at least a partial reason for Missouri Senate Bill 666.
“Senate Bill 666 makes Missouri a safe haven for the lynching of black men,” Simmons wrote Tuesday in a Twitter thread before adding later, “this bill is in direct response to the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, the reckless actions of the McClosky’s + the sham that was the Rittenhouse trial there is no doubt.”
Stoddard County Prosecuting Attorney Russ Oliver also blasted Missouri Senate Bill 666 as effectively being the “Make Murder Legal Act,” according to local news outlet KFVS.
Oliver said making the bill a law “would absolutely create chaos in the state of Missouri” and “automatically have the presumption of self-defense in every single assault, every single murder.”
Conversely, Republican Eric Burlison, who sponsored Missouri Senate Bill 666, has said the legislation is meant “to prevent Missourians from acts of overzealous prosecutors.”
Mark McCloskey, the man who wielded an automatic rifle during the aforementioned BLM protest proceeding past his home in 2020, praised Missouri Senate Bill 666, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. He mentioned the so-called “Castle” law that has been compared to Stand Your Ground and allows the use of deadly force to protect one’s property in the face of a perceived violent threat.
“The bill before the Senate now turns the Castle Doctrine into a bar to prosecution,” McCloskey, a current candidate for U.S. Senate, said. “We were shocked to find out when we were charged that the Castle Doctrine can only be raised as an affirmative defense.”
He added: “You have to have the jury decide the issue of whether or not you committed a crime, and then whether or not the Castle Doctrine provides you with a defense. That’s backwards.”
This is America.