Laurie Skrivan/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP File

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner announced on Monday that she has charged Mark and Patricia McCloskey with felony unlawful use of a weapon after the couple pulled guns on anti-racism protesters outside of their mansion.

The big picture: Photos of the McCloskeys, both personal injury attorneys in their 60s, went viral last month and have stirred a fiery partisan debate on social media. Missouri's Republican Gov. Mike Parson told Fox News Monday "without a doubt" he would pardon the couple and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) has called on the Justice Department to open a civil rights investigation into Gardner.

  • The incident has even prompted a response from President Trump, who said that any attempt to prosecute the couple would be a "disgrace" and suggested, without evidence, that the protesters were going to attack them and burn down their house.
  • The McCloskeys participated in an official Trump campaign virtual event last week and have appeared on Fox News.

What they're saying:

"It is illegal to wave weapons in a threatening manner at those participating in nonviolent protest, and while we are fortunate this situation did not escalate into deadly force, this type of conduct is unacceptable in St. Louis.
The decision to issue charges was made after a thorough investigation with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.
I am open to recommending the McCloskeys participate in one of my office’s diversion programs that are designed to reduce unnecessary involvement with the courts. I believe this would serve as a fair resolution to this matter."
— St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner

Editor's note: This post has been corrected to reflect that Sen. Josh Hawley is a Republican senator (not a Democratic senator).

Go deeper

Updated Oct 9, 2020 - Axios Events

Watch: A conversation following the vice presidential debate

On Friday, October 9 Axios' Mike Allen and Niala Boodhoo hosted a conversation unpacking the news of the day and reactions to the debate between Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris, featuring Sen. Tim Kaine, Sen. Josh Hawley and Rep. Katie Porter.

Sen. Tim Kaine discussed Democrats' priorities going into November, his experience on the campaign trail in 2016, and what's at stake in this election.

  • On the two things driving a significant uptick in early voter turnout: "One, people understand the stakes are so high this election...[Two], people are worried about the pandemic and coronavirus. They like having more options about how to vote."
  • On the experience of running for Vice President: "Everything I learned about the job (of running mate), I learned from Joe Biden...[He] never let there be public disagreement between he and Barack Obama, even though there was private disagreement."

Focusing on his role on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Josh Hawley unpacked his views on the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Amy Coney Barrett and the upcoming election.

  • On the Senate Judiciary Committee's questions about Amy Coney Barrett's religious background: "[Senator Harris] needs to lead the charge...She needs to say she was wrong to impose a religious test and she and her colleagues need to pledge that they will not do it."
  • His view of Joe Biden's record: "He's a liberal globalist, and that's exactly what he'll do as president of the United States. That really should be the central issue of this campaign."

Rep. Katie Porter discussed her reaction to the vice presidential debate and the state of American politics.

  • On the current political climate motivating people to run for office: "We're seeing a lot of people step up and run. I think people are feeling like it's time to try to fix some of this...We're seeing it in local candidates, more women than ever before running or diverse candidates running."
  • On the response to the pandemic: "[The Trump administration] has really demonstrated why having leaders who believe in science matters. At every turn, we've had problems with honoring science, with putting data and research first."

Thank you Bank of America for sponsoring this event.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
13 mins ago - Science

The murder hornets are here

A braver man than me holds a speciment of the Asian giant hornet. Photo: Karen Ducey/Getty Images

Entomologists in Washington state on Thursday discovered the first Asian giant hornet nest in the U.S.

Why it matters: You may know this insect species by its nom de guerre: "the murder hornet." While the threat they pose to humans has been overstated, the invading hornets could decimate local honeybee populations if they establish themselves.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!