Gun Rights, Self-Defense and Vigilantism – The Case of Kyle Rittenhouse

Kyle Rittenhouse’s trial as the white teenager charged with killing two people during a racial justice protest in Wisconsin has caused national discussions on gun rights, self-defense and vigilantism.

Prosecution attempted to portray Rittenhouse as a “teenage vigilante,” who brought an AR-15 rifle to Kenosha to protect his community against rioters. Defense lawyers countered by asserting he was there only for himself and others’ safety.

What Happened?

As soon as a white police officer shot Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, 19-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse took action with his AR-15 rifle to defend gun rights, protests and policing nationwide. Rittenhouse quickly became the focus of widespread debates on gun rights, protests and policing across America.

Kyle Rittenhouse Net Worth was an ardent supporter of law enforcement, serving as a youth cadet with Grayslake Police Department and posting photos showing himself brandishing a rifle while proclaiming, “Blue Lives Matter.” Additionally, he worked part-time as a lifeguard at Lindenhurst’s YMCA.

Prosecutors presented Rittenhouse as an unrepentant gunman who provoked violent encounters without showing remorse for those he shot, yet Rittenhouse tearfully testified before the court Wednesday that his action were done out of self-defense after shooting Joseph Rosenbaum four times.

Rittenhouse fatally shot Anthony Huber who was charging at him with a gun before shooting Gaige Grosskreutz and wounding Gaige Grosskreutz in a separate incident. Now, Anthony Huber and Gaige Grosskreutz’s family members have filed civil suit against Rittenhouse alleging his presence was dangerous and holding him responsible for what transpired.

Prosecutors’ Case

Kyle Rittenhouse faced an intimidating prosecution based on multiple shooting incidents at a Kenosha protest last year that claimed three lives; these shootings killed Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber as well as wounding Gaige Grosskreutz.

Prosecutors called numerous witnesses over two and a half days to support their argument that Rittenhouse needed to shoot in self-defence against three individuals who confronted him on that evening. At times, testimony provided support for this claim.

But legal experts questioned their ability to present a compelling case, noting several variables outside of their control that appeared swayed against them, such as Rittenhouse’s performance or whether witnesses made statements which provided support for defense inadvertently.

Richie McGinniss testified, for instance, that Rosenbaum lunged for Rittenhouse’s gun before being shot – this was key evidence for defense attorney Gal Pissetzky in Chicago.

Defense’s Case

Rittenhouse’s defense argued that he was using deadly force in self-defence against any threats he saw in the crowd, in accordance with Wisconsin law which states that people in danger of imminent death or great bodily harm may resort to using lethal force to defend themselves with deadly force.

Rittenhouse must demonstrate that he truly believed he was in imminent danger in order to justify killing the men; otherwise he may have refrained from doing so had they not believed themselves to be at risk of death or serious bodily injury.

The prosecution must prove that Rittenhouse did not truly believe he was in imminent danger; otherwise, they may face difficulty convicting him.


On Friday, after an arduous trial that has sent shockwaves through the country, a jury cleared former police youth cadet Kyle Rittenhouse of all charges related to the killing of two men and wounding of another during last year’s unrest in Kenosha. This highly charged case spurred heated discussions over gun rights, vigilantism, racial inequality and civil unrest across America.

Prosecutors depicted Rittenhouse as an illegally armed “would-be soldier,” who unlawfully entered Kenosha with an AR-15-style rifle and harassed fellow protesters while also harassing police.

The incident, which took place August 25 2020 during protests over Jacob Blake’s killing by Kenosha police, highlighted deep divisions within American society regarding guns, race issues, vigilantism and self-defense.

Though Rittenhouse’s case has been resolved, several lawsuits have been filed by the families of those he killed and wounded; Huber’s father filed suit against Kenosha city hall and other government officials while Grosskreutz’s mother filed a civil complaint against Kenosha police officers.