News & Politics

The Media Were All Wrong. Kyle Rittenhouse Legally Possessed Gun at Kenosha Riots

Nineteenth Judicial Circuit Court via AP

Network news, newspapers, and local news were all wrong about Kyle Rittenhouse and his gun on the night of Aug. 25, 2020. On Monday, at the Rittenhouse trial, the judge made it official. The gun was legal and Rittenhouse was within his rights to carry it.

It turns out that the only ones illegally possessing guns that night were Gaige Grosskreutz and Joshua Kiminski. But, of course, they’re not charged with those crimes. Just the kid is.

News outlets — looking at you, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and cronies — have continually asserted that Rittenhouse illegally brought a gun “over state lines” to Kenosha when he and friends were asked to guard a business during the third night of riots.

He was accused of bringing that gun to “hunt humans,” but that wasn’t true. The gun Rittenhouse used that night was stored at a friend’s dad’s house and locked in a gun safe in Kenosha until the 17-year-old used it that night.

Rittenhouse is accused of murdering two people and wounding another in court. Follow our coverage of the trial here.

Related: BREAKING: Judge Drops Controversial Charge Against Rittenhouse Before Jury Gets Case

He claims the violence done with his gun that night was done in self-defense.

But there was something even more confusing about the case, a fact that the local news got wrong.

The Milwaukee Sentinel reported that because Kyle was 17, he was not able to carry a rifle.

The Sentinel further reported that the law was clear about this.

In fact, the law was clear that 16- and 17-year-olds could carry long guns if they were short-barreled versions, along with other exceptions. Rittenhouse’s attorneys and others, including lawyer Will Chamberlain, laid out the law and its exceptions more than a year ago, but the misinformation persisted. Of course, prosecutors, knowing that Rittenhouse complied with those exceptions, continued to hold the gun charge over his head.

In today’s hearing, prosecutors relented when the judge asked for Rittenhouse’s gun so he could measure it. Knowing the jig was up, they finally admitted that the gun wasn’t too short.

Andrew Branca, a self-defense attorney, had to school a former network reporter who kept recycling the bad information.

Former Rittenhouse attorney, Robert Barnes, took a swipe at her too.

The Rittenhouse defense team has been asking for the charge to be dropped from the beginning.

The prosecution also maintains that merely having the gun provoked others to attack him that night. A fuzzy photo that jurors will see, if they can squint well enough, claims to show Rittenhouse somehow pointing his gun at Ziminski. Ziminski is notorious for, one, being the first person to shoot behind Rittenhouse that night; and, two, never being called to testify.

It’s hard to fathom that merely carrying a rifle triggers violence, considering that Wisconsin allows open carry of long guns. But if prosecutors can convince the jury that Rittenhouse pointed his gun, however briefly, he may lose self-defense privilege.

Dropping the gun charge is a huge P.R. win for Rittenhouse. Detractors wanted him to be tossed into prison for being at the riot in the first place. Now they know that the gun was perfectly legal in the hands of the then-17-year-old.

As one legal observer put it, blaming a young Rittenhouse for being attacked at a riot and defending himself is like a 17-year-old teenage girl who goes to an over-18 club and is assaulted. She’s still a victim.

In this case, Rittenhouse had every right to be there with a long gun. The judge ruled as much on Monday.