Gun control groups have gone apoplectic over the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse in Kenosha, Wis. Looking at their statements, social media and reactions, gun control is no longer just gun control. Gun control is no longer about anything close to resembling common sense and has nothing to do with actual community safety.
It’s all about control and nothing less.
The Rittenhouse trial, news coverage and verdict exposed glaring blind spots in the politicians calling for a rushed prosecution, the media repeating debunked narratives and gun control groups conveniently ignoring actual heinous crimes previously committed by those who attacked Rittenhouse, including during the incidents in which he defended his own life.
The prosecution’s rush to charge and courtroom fumbles showed blatant – if not intentional – errors. Jonathan Turley, a professor at George Washington University Law School, told Fox News, “They [prosecutors] rushed to bring charges against him and then when the case started to fall apart they seemed to become more and more desperate and they started to cut corners and make errors.”
That included attempting to turn Rittenhouse’s Constitutional rights against him in the courtroom. Prosecutors alleged Rittenhouse’s Fifth Amendment right to remain silent was indicative of supposed guilt. Prosecutors told the jury that Rittenhouse didn’t have an inherent right to self-defense and should have “taken” a “beating.” They claimed that the mere fact one possesses a firearm negates their self-defense claims.
Cue the Outrage
Rightfully, the jury rejected these perversions of Constitutional rights. That didn’t stop the gun control groups from piling on. This time, though, it wasn’t about guns. It was about clinging to identity groups and rehashing political grievances.
Giffords Law Center tweeted the verdict was a perversion of justice, writing, “Kyle Rittenhouse wielded his whiteness as a shield and his AR-15 as a weapon in the streets of Kenosha.”
Police officers let Kyle Rittenhouse walk away after killing two people.
Today, the jury let him get away with murder.
We reject vigilantism and will continue doing everything in our power to fight violence and systemic racism. https://t.co/erjl5ZpPhA
— Giffords (@GiffordsCourage) November 19, 2021
For Giffords, the case was all about identity politics. In this case, Giffords chose race. They ignore the fact Rittenhouse’s attackers, against whom he defended himself, were all white. They also ignore that African-American gun buyers grew by 58 percent in 2020.
Guns America Digest’s S.H. Blannelberry catalogued some of gun control’s hot takes right after the verdict was rendered. March for Our Lives, an off-shoot of billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety, said Rittenhouse was a, “toxic mix of a white supremacist culture…” Shannon Watts, of Mom’s Demand Action gun control group, echoed disproven racial overtones, referencing Rittenhouse by his race.
This trial lays bare everything we’ve been talking about for years. Rittenhouse embodies the very danger posed by a toxic mix of a white supremacist culture that values property over human life, and wide proliferation of high-powered guns with fewer limits than a drivers license.
— March For Our Lives (@AMarch4OurLives) November 19, 2021
These were all re-telling of misleading media narratives. For months, mainstream media spouted lies and knew they were false. These gun control groups were more than happy to add to the echo chamber. Rittenhouse’s defense attorney, Mark Richards, blasted the media for their purposeful misrepresentation of even the basic facts of the case. “And it makes me angry that they can’t take the time to at least get the generic, basic facts correct because it didn’t fit in the story they wanted to tell,” he told Fox News.
Defending Convicts, Child Molesters
These gun control groups that pose as the guardians of community safety are willfully ignorant of basic facts. What’s worse, they are openly defending Rittenhouse’s attackers. Here’s what they won’t say.
Rittenhouse verdict is another sure sign of democracy’s collapse. All it would have taken is one decent person on that jury to stop it.
— Ladd Everitt (@LaddEveritt) November 19, 2021
Rittenhouse’s attackers were all convicted felons. Joseph Rosenbaum, who was killed as Rittenhouse defended himself, was a 36-year-old from Kenosha. At the time of the incident, he was pending charges in Wisconsin for domestic abuse and jumping bail. He was convicted in Arizona in 2002 for child molestation charges, for which he was sentenced to 14 years in prison.
Anthony Huber attacked Rittenhouse with his skateboard. The 26-year-old was killed in his attack on Rittenhouse as he was trying to seize Rittenhouse’s rifle. Prior to the incident, he was convicted of domestic abuse and disorderly conduct in 2018. He was sentenced in 2012 for a choking attempt on his own brother.
Gaige Grosskreutz, the 28-year-old who was shot in the arm by Rittenhouse, testified on the stand that he pointed a handgun at Rittenhouse before he was shot. None of the gun control groups questioned why Grosskreutz had a gun. He had a criminal charge against him dismissed just six days before the trial.
Gun control groups held up Grosskreutz as a “victim,” but never said anything of his history of criminal convictions of, “domestic abuse, trespassing, multiple DUIs, prowling, felony burglary, and two charges of carrying a firearm while drunk,” according to one report. At least one felony was expunged and several other charges were dismissed. There was never a mention of Grosskreutz carrying a concealed firearm without a valid concealed carry permit, to which he testified had expired.
The fake outrage, grasping at straws and hypocritical vilification of a young man defending himself while ignoring convicted felons who were true threats to community safety proves that gun control isn’t concerned about safer communities. They’re only concerned about banning guns.
Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.