In Kenosha and beyond, guns are becoming more common on US streets

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

In Georgia, testimonies in the trial of Ahmaud Arbery’s killers showed that armed patrols were commonplace in the neighborhood where Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man, was chased and shot by three white men.

The two cases have sent startling new signals about the limits of self-defense as more guns come out of homes. political and racial Progress of laws and tensions that ease permitting requirements and expand permissible use of power.

In most of the country, it has become increasingly acceptable for Americans to walk the streets with firearms carried either openly or legally concealed. In places that still prohibit such behavior, bans on possession of guns in public could soon change if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns a New York law.

The new status quo for firearms outside the home was in sight last week in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Local resident Erick Jordan carried a rifle and holstered pistol near the courthouse where Rittenhouse was located. charged with killing two people and injuring a third With an AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle at a protest last year.

“I have a job to do – that’s protecting people. That’s it,” Jordan said, referring to speakers at a press conference in the hours after the decision.

Among the speakers was the uncle of Black man Jacob Blake, who was shot and paralyzed by a white police officer in the summer of 2020, sparking riotous protests across the city.

“This is my city, my people,” Jordan said. “We disagree on many things, but we fight, we argue, we accept the disagreement and we come home safe and sound.”

“This is real self-defense.”

The comments were a punchline against political figures on the right who welcomed the Rittenhouse decision and condemned the prosecution.

In June, he and his wife went to St. Mark McCloskey, who admitted misdemeanor charges for brandishing rifles and pistols at Black Lives Matter protesters outside their home in St. Louis, said the ruling demonstrates that people have the right to defend themselves. from a “mafia”. He is currently a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Missouri.

The decision came as many states expanded their self-defense laws and relaxed their rules on carrying guns in public. Both gun sales and gun violence are on the rise.

At the same time, six more states this year lifted their permit requirements to carry guns in public, according to the Giffords Law Center for Gun Violence Prevention; this is the highest number in any year. In total, 30 states have enacted “keep your ground” laws that remove the requirement to withdraw from combat before using deadly force.

Wisconsin has a stricter standard for making a claim in 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 firearms industry executive who now supports moderate gun control as a writer and consultant, said the case strengthens the normalization of military-style guns on city and suburban streets.

“Reasonable gun owners go crazy about it,” he said. “How come we see this and people say, ‘There’s a guy with an AR-15.’ This happens in third world countries.”

He stressed that there are fewer charges against Rittenhouse as a minor in possession of a dangerous weapon. dropped before the verdict.

“There’s an aspect of Wisconsin law that allows kids to take their hunting rifles out with their father or uncle,” Busse said. “Well, he’s not hunting. … The old gun culture is being used to cover up this new, dangerous firearms culture.”

Gun rights advocates, who seek greater access to guns and strong self-defense provisions, argue that armed conflicts will remain rare.

Republicans, including former President Donald Trump, were quick to applaud the decision. They stand with Rittenhouse as a patriot who takes a stand against lawlessness and exercises Second Amendment rights.

In the wake of the 2020 plan to attack the Michigan Capitol, the January 6 riot at the US Capitol, and other threats, the dispute over the right to bear arms in public has spilled over into state legislatures. States like Michigan and New Mexico banned guns in their capitals this year, while Montana and Utah supported concealed carry rights.

In the Supreme Court, judges are weighing the biggest gun case in more than a decade, which is a dispute over whether New York’s gun license law violates the Second Amendment’s right to “possess and bears a gun.”

Proponents of the law say dropping it would lead to more guns on the streets of cities, including New York and Los Angeles.

In this month’s oral debates, the judges also he looked worried He said a broad decision could threaten gun restrictions in subways, bars, stadiums and other gathering places.

New York law has been in effect since 1913. According to the law, in order to carry a concealed pistol in a public place for self-defense purposes, the applicant must demonstrate a genuine need for the weapon.


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