NewsKyle Rittenhouse Trial


Dropped gun charge against Kyle Rittenhouse sparks debate if Wisconsin law should be updated

Kyle Rittenhouse
Posted at 9:34 PM, Nov 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-16 06:48:27-05

MILWAUKEE — Just one day before the jury is expected to deliberate, Judge Bruce Schroeder dismissed one of the six charges brought against Kyle Rittenhouse, based on a 30-year-old Wisconsin law that some argue needs to be changed.

"Sometimes it takes big cases to bring these issues to light," said attorney Jillian Scheidegger of Cafferty & Scheidegger, S.C.

Another charge in the murder trial of Kyle Rittenhouse has been dropped. On Monday, Judge Schroeder ruled that Count 6: Possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18, would no longer be held against Rittenhouse.

Rittenhouses' defense lawyers argued that under the Wisconsin statute, 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds are allowed to carry a rifle as long as it doesn't have a barrel less than 16 inches. The same goes for a shotgun, as long as the barrel isn't less than 18 inches. At the time, Rittenhouse was 17-years-old and armed with an AR-15 on the night of the shootings.

kyle rittenhouse
At the time, Rittenhouse was 17-years-old and armed with an AR-15 on the night of the shootings.

"Because of the nature of the firearm that Mr. Rittenhouse ultimately possessed, their position was, it was lawful," said Scheidegger.

According to state legislators, the statute was initially created 30 years ago to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to hunt.

"The public policy idea behind it is you don't want minors to be in possession of these dangerous weapons unless they are otherwise trained or supervised to do so," said Scheidegger.

Now, some lawmakers argue that the law needs to be updated and written with more clear intent.

"This was necessary for a purpose. However, the way in the loophole in which Rittenhouse is not able to be held responsible doesn't serve the purpose of what the law was meant to do. We need to make sure that the letter of the law is clear," said Representative LaKeisha Myers (D-District 12).

However, not everyone agrees.

In a statement issued by Republican state senator Van Wanggaard, he said, "I was surprised that this charge was even brought in the Rittenhouse case. It's been law for 30 years without anyone having a problem with it, any incidents, and without outrage, and it doesn't need to be changed now."

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