Kyle Rittenhouse Wants His Gun Back

The Kenosha Police Department is still holding his weapon, clothing, and other property for no apparent reason.

Kyle Rittenhouse,, accused of shooting three people during a protest against police brutality in Wisconsin last year, waits for a motion hearing, Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021, in Kenosha, Wis. (Mark Hertzberg/Pool Photo via AP)

AP (“Rittenhouse seeks return of gun used during Kenosha protest“):

Kyle Rittenhouse, the Illinois man acquitted of fatally shooting two men and wounding a third during street protests in Kenosha in 2020, is seeking the return of the gun and other property that police seized after his arrest.

[…]

The gun was purchased by Dominick Black for Rittenhouse, who was 17 at the time and unable to legally buy a gun and “was to become the legal property of Kyle Rittenhouse upon his 18th birthday,” which was Jan. 3, 2021, the motion stated.

Earlier this month, Black pleaded guilty to two citations for contributing to the delinquency of a minor in exchange for prosecutors dropping two felony charges of intent to sell a dangerous weapon to a person younger than 18.

According to court documents, Rittenhouse is also looking to retrieve the ammunition, the sling and the magazine from the firearm, his cellphone, a cloth face mask, the clothing he was wearing the night of the shootings and a $1 bill.

A court hearing on the motion is scheduled for Jan. 28.

Reiterating that I’m not an attorney, it strikes me as bizarre that Rittenhouse, who was acquitted of all charges, has to go to court to get his property returned to him. It is no longer evidence in a pending trial.

Regardless, here’s the interesting bit:

Rittenhouse’s attorney Mark Richards filed paperwork with the Kenosha County Circuit Court on Wednesday seeking the return of the items, explaining that Rittenhouse wants the AR-15-style rifle back so that it can be destroyed, the Kenosha News reported. He also wants the clothing he was wearing the night of the shootings returned.

[…]

Rittenhouse family spokesman David Hancock said Thursday that Rittenhouse wants to destroy the rifle and plans to throw out his clothing so that no one can use any of it to “celebrate” the shootings.

“At the end of the day, two people did lose their lives, period,” Hancock said. “That weapon was involved in that. That weapon doesn’t belong on a mantle. It doesn’t belong in a museum. It belongs where Kyle wants it, and Kyle wants it destroyed. … There’s plenty of people out there who would like to hold these items up, on both sides. That’s nothing Kyle’s interested in.”

Good on him if it’s true.

FILED UNDER: Guns and Gun Control, Law and the Courts, , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. gVOR08 says:

    “if it’s true” indeed. It would surprise me no end if there isn’t an online auction in that gun’s near future.

    8
  2. ptfe says:

    Um, it doesn’t take a lawyer to see how absurd this argument is. The gun was used in commission of a crime: it was illegally distributed to a minor.

    “Earlier this month, Black pleaded guilty to two citations for contributing to the delinquency of a minor in exchange for prosecutors dropping two felony charges of intent to sell a dangerous weapon to a person younger than 18.”

    Rittenhouse may not have been convicted of committing a crime with it, but the gun was involved in a secondary crime. I’m generally anti-seizure for personal property, but Rittenhouse was illegally provided with the firearm, so giving it to him just because he now meets the legal requirements for being provided with that firearm is highly irresponsible.

    Imagine being 6 months short of your 21st birthday and you have an adult buy you booze, but the cops drop a ticket on that person and seize the alcohol: we would rightfully laugh at you if you tried to go back to the station 6 months later to demand your Wild Turkey back because you were now 21.

    14
  3. Crusty Dem says:

    @gVOR08:

    I couldn’t imagine a situation in which he doesn’t end up selling the gun. Unless it’s using it as a prop in his run for congress.

    1
  4. Jen says:

    Is it really “his” if he wasn’t of age to own it when he first acquired it?

    Something smells off about his reasoning too. I’ve become incredibly cynical, but I just don’t see this “destroy the gun” thing happening. Not when there’s money to be had.

    According to court documents, Rittenhouse is also looking to retrieve the ammunition, the sling and the magazine from the firearm, his cellphone, a cloth face mask, the clothing he was wearing the night of the shootings and a $1 bill.

    Again, some of this feels “auction-ready.”

    I would be thrilled if this young man sinks back into obscurity and becomes penitent for the two lives he took. I just don’t think it’s possible with the cultish behavior we’ve become accustomed to in this country.

    5
  5. Kathy says:

    @Jen:

    Asking back for the clothes? Sure. it does feel like an auction.

    If he’s sincere, he’ll slip the gun, clothes, and shooter down the memory hole.

  6. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    If I’m not mistaken the weapon was illegally acquired. So I’m not sure what the legal basis of getting back is. If he wants it destroyed have the Kenosha Police properly destroy it.
    After the fetishistic display of Rep. Cawthorn (Q-NC) cleaning his gun during a Veterans Affairs Hearing yesterday, it’s hard to imagine Republicans letting Rittenhouse’s AR-15 to be destroyed. That would be like destroying Trump’s elevator shoes. In European Cathedrals they call things such as these “relics” and they are the object of worship by the devout.

    2
  7. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:
  8. just nutha says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: I was thinking the same thing, but then I realized that the Kenosha Police might want the gun for their History of Good Guys with Guns shrine, so no, that’s probably NOT a solution.

    2
  9. KM says:

    @Kathy:
    Not just the clothes but the face mask. A weird request considering how cheap they are and the general GOP attitude towards masks in general.

    Sure, it might be the principle of the thing – it’s mine damnit so you will return it to me. That’s perfect understandable. On the other hand, if they just gave back the clothes and not the gun citing the legal issues noted above, he and the other MAGAts would flip out. Giving him back personal property not involved in another crime or has legality issues is one thing but they won’t be satisfied till the weapon is returned as that’s the true complaint.

    He’s gonna sell it and laugh about how dumb the NPCs are to have believed that nonsense about destroying it. As @Daryl noted, it can be destroyed by the police but he can’t monetize that – can’t even film it!

    2
  10. Gustopher says:

    Dominick Black might have a case to get the gun, as it was legally his, but not Rittenhouse.

    1
  11. Raoul says:

    From what I have seen Rittenhouse does not want to be a cause celebre. I cannot imagine being an 18 year old who killed two people. Then again I cannot imagine being an 18 year old owning an AK 47. The gun culture fetishism runs deep.

  12. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Raoul:

    Then again I cannot imagine being an 18 year old owning an AK 47

    It’s not an AK-47. That’s a Russian military rifle. It’s an AR-15, which is a civilian rifle. Having fired both, I can testify that they are very different beasts.

    2
  13. EddieInCA says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Having fired both, I can testify that they are very different beasts.

    Semantics. 7.62 vs. 5.56. They both accomplish the exact same task the exact same way.

    3
  14. dazedandconfused says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    If you need a 30 round mag for hunting…you shouldn’t.

    Kyle wouldn’t be the first kid to find out the hard way that killing turned out to be, for him, not what he imagined it would be.

  15. gVOR08 says:

    @Raoul:

    From what I have seen Rittenhouse does not want to be a cause celebre.

    Yeah, that’s what he said.

    I think my trial was an example of them trying to come after our Second Amendment rights, our right to defend ourselves and trying to take our weapons,” Rittenhouse, now 18, told a crowd of roughly 6,700 people at the Phoenix Convention Center.

    Rittenhouse has made appearances on conservative media since then, and spoke Monday during a four-day gathering of conservatives put on by Turning Point USA, a student-focused movement that supports a free market and limited government.

    And he went on Hannity to reiterate that he wants to “lay low”.

    He’s an 18 year old dork with 15 minutes of fame likely surrounded by conservative hustlers eager to help him cash in on it.

    4
  16. Gustopher says:

    @gVOR08:

    And he went on Hannity to reiterate that he wants to “lay low”.

    I think he wants to lie low enough to avoid criticism, but high enough to get the praise and cash in.

    4
  17. gVOR08 says:

    @Gustopher: Want to have it both ways? A Republican? Surely you can’t mean it.

    2
  18. Mu Yixiao says:

    @EddieInCA:

    They both accomplish the exact same task the exact same way.

    A Chevy Spark and a Lamborghini Countach. Just semantics
    An ARRI ALEXA 65 or an iPhone. Just semantics.

    They do exactly the same thing in exactly the same way. Right?

    An AK-47 is a fully-automatic, military-grade weapon which has been used in major military conflicts since the 1950s.

    An AR-15 is a “scary looking” small-game rifle*.

    A .30 cal rifle and a 12ga shotgun kept my family fed for 30 years. Venison, turkey**, goose, duck, rabbit, raccoon, squirrel… our guns allowed us to eat. And eat really well. $5 of ammo and a $25 licence put 100 lbs of venison in the freezer–and gave us some nice leather gloves, vests, and other clothes.

    In my small rural area of less than 10k people, donated venison provides two and a half tons*** of meat every year to poor families through local food pantries. The rule of thumb is half a pound per person per meal–but that’s assuming a well-to-do family eating steaks or a roast. For a poor family, let’s set the bar at a quarter pound per person per meal. That’s 20,000 meals–because people have guns and use them to kill things. And that’s just venison!

    But feel free to go on with your “all guns are the same” and “all guns are bad” and “all guns are used for bad things” narrative. I’m sure you’ll win over lots of swing-state rural voters to your side.

    ================
    *5.56mm = .223 caliber. That’s a “twenty two”. If you’d like me to do the math between the AK-47 and the AR-15 ammo, I’ll be happy to this weekend when I get bored. I don’t think it will do any good, however, because in your mind “GUN BAD!!”. But more than that, “GUN PEOPLE BAD!”

    You don’t like the people who like guns.

    ** My father was instrumental in reintroducing wild turkey to this area. Now they’re everywhere.

    *** The current price for ground beef (all the donated venison is ground) is $5/lb. That’s $25k in food donated to those in need–with no middle-man–because people have guns.

    2
  19. gVOR08 says:

    @Mu Yixiao: I’ve seen Rittenhouse’s gun identified only as a Smith & Wesson W&P 15. This is essentially an Army M4 carbine without automatic fire capability and is normally chambered for a 5.56 x 45mm cartridge which is essentially a .223 Remington. They’re small bore, but necked high velocity rounds. The 5.56 x 45 is the standard NATO cartridge with lethality sufficient for NATO’s purposes. The rifle can optionally be purchase chambered for a .22 Long Rifle, a low powered plinking round. As a little kid in rural ND I fired hundreds of them. (As an engineer I have to wonder if the W&P’s semi-auto action works well with such a small cartridge.) Do you have information as to what ammunition Rittenhouse’s gun is chambered for? I found one photo with a few rounds in view, but way to low res to identify them.

    1
  20. EddieInCA says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Wow. Defensive much?

    And you’re 100% wrong. I’m a gun owner. I own a Sig P226, H&K .40, H&K .45, and an H&K Compact 9mm, along with a Remington 12GA.

    Gun owners aren’t bad. Gun Fetishists are bad. There is a difference. I have zero problems with people who hunt to put food on the table. I have zero problems with people who keep guns in their homes for protection. I DO have a problem with people who hunt for sport, because there is nothing noble, heroic, or sporting about shooting an defenseless animal from a distance with a rifle. If you cant to grab a knife and take down a wild boar, or deer, or lion, or tiger, or elephant, I’ll give you the knife. Good luck. But there is zero sport in hunting an animal for bragging rights. I also have a problem with the aholes who go into the local Walmart in Georgia carrying their AR-15’s. I have a problem seeing an AR-15 in a Starbucks in Missouri. Aholes. The lot of them.

    AK-47 and AR-15: Both have no business in civilian hands. 5.56 is the round used by NATO, for fuck’s sake. If you need an AR-15 for self defense, you have bigger issues.

    7
  21. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @dazedandconfused: Given that at least one of his victims attacked him (albeit without a gun) and he (very probably) panicked and opened fire, he’d have a real ball if he was ever in a situation where others were shooting back at him.

  22. dazedandconfused says:

    @SC_Birdflyte: As he has expressed a desire to destroy it, and for no particular reason, IMO there’s a strong possibility he will never again seek to place himself in such a position as he did on that fateful night. This is how it is for most, justified or not. It was fun and exciting in the imagining, but the reality of it was nothing as expected, and he now hopes he can get through life without killing anybody again…not ever ever ever ever again.

  23. Xrlq says:

    No evidence the gun was illegally obtained, though I suppose there is a question of whether it really was Rittenhouse’s gun vs. Black’s.