Egger: In this case, the couple in question were on their private property, and the protesters were apparently trespassing, not necessarily on their property, but on a private street. To what degree is that right to protect yourself transferable in that gray area? It does seem there’s an argument to be made that they exceed the bounds of that by brandishing and threatening people who are on a private street, but not their private property.
Gutowski: Yeah, I do think there’s still a controversy there about whether these people are on the couple’s actual private property, or if the sidewalk they were walking on was part of the private street, not necessarily owned by the couple. That does provide a complication in terms of the Missouri law.
The statute itself says that you can’t use deadly force except for under certain exceptions. And one of those is when such force is used against a person who unlawfully enters, remains after unlawfully entering, or attempts to unlawfully enter private property that is owned or leased by an individual, or occupied by somebody who’s been giving a specific authority by the property owner.
So if this crowd was not on their private property or attempting to enter the private property, then it may be a different question in terms of the legality of it.
I think in this case you have a situation where you can have people coming from two different approaches and finding things to support their views.