Congressman Smith Capitol Report: Defending Family

U.S. Rep. Jason Smith
R-MO
Congressman Jason Smith (R-MO) represents Rolla in Missouri's Eighth Congressional District.

The ability to defend your home, your family, and your property is a right that is absolutely protected here in Missouri. It’s also a right that has become even more essential as liberal mayors have failed to control violent mobs that are roaming the streets of their cities and have nothing to do with justice for George Floyd. Unfortunately, this isn’t isolated to just coastal communities. All across the country, American families are being put at risk by feckless local leaders that refuse to support our law enforcement officers or restore law and order.

This hit close to home, when Mark and Patricia McCloskey of St. Louis had to take matters into their own hands to protect themselves and their property from the mob gathered outside their door. They retrieved their guns and stood on their property ready to defend their home. The mob had approached their house after knocking down an iron gate and storming by “No Trespassing” and “Private Street” signs. The McCloskeys, intimidated and terrorized by some of the individuals, said they feared for their lives. After they succeeded in defending their home by standing their ground, which is entirely within their rights as Missourians, a rogue prosecutor in St. Louis, Attorney Kim Gardner, charged them both with felonies. I was livid that this could happen in our state. Our castle doctrine laws to defend one’s home are clear. I should know, I helped write them.

I knew that what the McCloskey’s did defending their home was legal and justified. The “castle doctrine” allows you to use force against intruders, without the duty to retreat, based on the notion that your home is your "castle." Even with this law on the books, a leftist prosecutor took it upon herself to try and send law-abiding American citizens to prison for exercising their constitutional rights. We need to send a message that what the McClosekys did in defending their home was right, and what prosecutor Kim Gardner did to them was wrong.

That is why this week, I introduced the American Family and Private Property Defense Act to send a clear message to other activist prosecutors that the American people have an absolute right to defend their homes, their families, and their property. My bill allows American families to take any and all steps necessary to protect themselves from criminals without facing the fear of prosecution. This a commonsense piece of legislation that will ensure what happened to the McCloskey families is never allowed to happen again in the United States of America. 

This legislation is also critical to pushing back on the radical agenda of Speaker Pelosi and her progressive caucus. If she had her way, they would eliminate all funding for law enforcement officers across this country. At that point, what’s left? What stands between a parent and someone wanting to come onto their property and do harm to their family? We need to let these families know that they have a right to defend themselves, to keep their families safe, and the security to know they won’t be wrongly targeted with political prosecutions for their actions. The American Family and Private Property Defense Act will ensure all Americans are able to protect themselves, loved ones, and property without fearing legal action. Our timeless values of life and liberty must be fought for and preserved for future generations of not only Missourians, but every American family.