In Kenosha and beyond, guns become more common on US streets


When Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted of two murders he said were in self-defense, armed civilians patrolled the streets near the Wisconsin courthouse with guns in plain sight.

In Georgia, testimony during the trial of Ahmaud Arbery’s killers showed that armed patrols were common in the neighborhood where Arbery, a 25-year-old black man, was chased by three white men. follow and shoot.

Two proceedings have sent surprising new signals about the boundaries of the right to self-defense as more and more guns appear in homes. politics and race Tensions and the introduction of laws eased permitting requirements and broadened the permitted use of force.

In most countries, it is becoming increasingly acceptable for Americans to walk on the street with weapons, whether openly carried or legally concealed. In places where such behavior is still prohibited, the ban on owning guns in public could soon change if the US Supreme Court enacts a New York law.

The new state of firearms outside the home was prominently displayed last week in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Local resident Erick Jordan carries a rifle and shotgun near the courthouse where Rittenhouse on trial for killing two men and wounding a third with an AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle during a demonstration last year.

“I have a job to do – protect these people. That’s it,” Jordan said, referring to speakers at a press conference held in the hours following the ruling.

Speakers included an uncle of Jacob Blake, the Black man who was paralyzed in the summer of 2020.

“This is my town, my people,” Jordan said. “We disagree on many things, but we fight, we argue, we agree to disagree and come home safe, alive.”

“That’s true self-defense.”

The comments were a blow to right-wing political figures, who welcomed Rittenhouse’s verdict and condemned his prosecution.

Mark McCloskey, who pleaded guilty in June to a misdemeanor charge stemming from when he and his wife swung rifles and shotguns at Black Lives Matter protesters outside their home in St. Louis in 2020, said the ruling showed people had a right to defend themselves from a “crowd.” He is currently the Republican candidate for the United States Senate in Missouri.

The ruling comes as many states are expanding self-defense laws and relaxing regulations on carrying guns in public. Both gun sales and gun violence are on the rise.

At the same time, this year, six other states have eliminated requirements for obtaining a permit to carry a gun in public, the largest number in any year, according to the Giffords Law Center for the Prevention of Gun Violence. In total, 30 states have enacted “stand your ground” laws, removing the requirement to withdraw from confrontations before using deadly force.

Wisconsin has a stricter standard for claiming self-defense, and Rittenhouse was able to show the jury that he believed his life was in danger and that the amount of force he used was appropriate.

Ryan Busse, a former gun industry executive who now advocates for moderate gun control as an author and consultant, said the incident reinforces the normalization of military-style weapons. on the streets in the city and suburbs.

“Reasonable gun owners are perplexed by this,” he said. “How do we see this and people are like, ‘There’s a guy with an AR-15.’ That happens in third world countries.”

He stressed that the crime was less against Rittenhouse as a minor in possession of a dangerous weapon. was dropped prior to the ruling.

“There is an aspect of Wisconsin law that allows kids to bring their shotguns out with their dad or uncle,” says Busse. “He doesn’t go hunting. … The old gun culture is being used to cover up this new, dangerous gun culture. ”

Gun rights advocates seeking greater access to weapons and strong self-defense provisions argue that armed confrontations will remain rare.

Republicans including former President Donald Trump were quick to applaud the ruling. They sided with Rittenhouse as a patriot who fought lawlessness and exercised his Second Amendment rights.

Discord over gun rights in public places has spilled over into state legislatures in the wake of the 2020 Michigan Building attack, the January 6 uprising on the U.S. Capitol, and other threats. . States including Michigan and New Mexico this year banned guns in their capitals, while Montana and Utah boosted the right to carry one.

In the Supreme Court, justices are weighing the biggest gun case in more than a decade, a dispute over whether New York’s gun laws violate Second Amendment rights to firearms. the right to “keep and bear arms” or not.

Defenders of the law say attacking it will lead to more guns on the streets of cities, including New York and Los Angeles.

In oral arguments this month, the judges also looks worried that a broad ruling could threaten gun restrictions on subways and in bars, stadiums and other gathering places.

New York’s law has been in place since 1913. It states that in order to carry a concealed handgun in public for self-defense, an applicant must demonstrate a genuine need for the weapon. In Kenosha and beyond, guns become more common on US streets


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