Kyle Rittenhouse’s acquittal on murder charges on Friday opened yet another front in America’s longstanding fight over gun rights.
Conservatives hailed Rittenhouse as a hero for exercising his right to self-defence when he fatally shot two demonstrators and wounded a third who he said attacked him last year at a racial justice protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Gun control advocates warned the jury’s verdict could inspire a new wave of armed vigilantism.
« As the tragic events on that night in August showed, a 17-year-old arming himself with an AR-15 makes no one safer, » top officials at Giffords, the gun safety group, said in a statement.
Within minutes of the verdict, the National Rifle Association posted on Twitter the language of the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment: « A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed. »
The trial judge earlier this week had dismissed a misdemeanor charge against Rittenhouse for illegally possessing the rifle he used in the shootings, citing vagueness in the law.
Liberals denounced Rittenhouse’s acquittal as further evidence of a racially biased criminal justice system. Rittenhouse, like the men he shot, is white.
« That a white male youth can travel across state lines, armed with an assault rifle, and engage in armed confrontation resulting in multiple deaths without facing criminal accountability, is the all too familiar outcome in a country where systemic racism continues to rot the system, » Margaret Huang, president and CEO of the Southern Poverty Law Center, said in a statement.
That sentiment was echoed by Karen Bloom and John Huber, the parents of Anthony Huber, one of the men killed by Rittenhouse.
« It sends the unacceptable message that armed civilians can show up in any town, incite violence, and then use the danger they have created to justify shooting people in the street, » they said in a statement.
Source: CTV News
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