While at a Missouri gas station last fall, a man and woman got into an intense argument over whether or not the man would move his car. Unexpectedly, the quarrel escalated. This caused the man to reach into his car to grab a firearm and put it into his waistband, but never removed the weapon and waved it around or pointed it at anyone. At this point, the woman called police in order to inform them that the man was in possession of a firearm.

Now, the man is on trial for unlawful use of a weapon, which is a felony crime under Missouri law. According to reports, the man has a valid license to carry a concealed weapon, making this case particularly convoluted. The most important aspect of the case, is determining whether or not the man was threatening the woman with the weapon. Despite initially telling police that she did not feel threatened by the man's actions, the woman now says she and her daughters felt as though the man intended to harm them. Furthermore, the woman had difficulty identifying the man she accused of intending to harm her when she was on the witness stand.

Conflicting stories and the concealed carry permit issue caused the man's defense team to move to dismiss the case. During court proceedings, the man's attorney commented that the prosecution has not met the required "burden of proof" to continue with trial or prove the man's supposed guilt. The judge recently said he would need another month to review legal precedent to determine if the trial will proceed.

This is a case where effective legal representation is very important. In order to receive a favorable outcome, the defense will have to make sure to clearly argue that the man was legally authorized to carry a firearm. This fact will probably play a key role in how the trial proceeds. Hopefully, the man will find some sense of justice in a case that is the likely result of a spontaneous decision and misunderstanding that occurred during the course of a heated argument.

Source: Southeast Missourian, "Judge to look at case law before deciding whether to try man for getting gun during gas station argument," Scott Moyers, March 28, 2012