Rittenhouse verdict comes amid a fraught gun landscape

Rittenhouse verdict comes amid a fraught gun landscape

Jacob Blake’s uncle, Justin Blake, center, holds a Pan-African flag as he rallies with dozens of other protesters on both sides of the Kyle Rittenhouse case on the steps of the Kenosha County Courthouse while the jury deliberates inside, Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 16, 2021. (Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times via AP) The upcoming verdict in Kyle Rittenhouse’s murder trial for shooting three men during street unrest in Wisconsin comes against a backdrop of deep political divisions and expanded access to guns in the United States – factors that some fear could lead to more dangerous encounters. The 18-year-old testified he fired in self-defense, killing two men and wounding a third, after coming under attack during a night of protests against racial injustice in Kenosha in the summer of 2020. But prosecutors argue that Rittenhouse set the deadly chain of events in motion by traveling from his home in nearby Illinois armed with an AR-style semi-automatic rifle. While legal experts have said the details give Rittenhouse a strong argument for self-defense, some worry about the broader signal an acquittal could send. The jury that heard the case deliberated a full day Tuesday without reaching a decision; they return Wednesday. “It’s easy to see how an acquittal could send the message that there are no consequences for showing up armed wherever you want, and then when situations escalate, you pull the trigger and get away with it,” said Nick Suplina, senior vice president for law and policy at Everytown for Gun Safety. The […]

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