Kyle Rittenhouse launches anti-gun control effort

Man who killed two people during protest establishes nonprofit to protect the ‘inalienable right to bear arms’ with backing from powerful Texas political figures

Bevan Hurley
Wednesday 16 August 2023 21:46 BST
Kyle Rittenhouse hits out at Lebron James

Kyle Rittenhouse is launching a pro-gun rights nonprofit in Texas, seemingly part of his efforts to become an influential operative in the state’s far-right political scene.

The 20-year-old last month filed papers with the Texas secretary of state’s office to establish The Kyle Rittenhouse Foundation, according to the Texas Tribune.

The nonprofit reportedly seeks to protect “human and civil rights secured by law, including an individual’s inalienable right to bear arms” and ensure the Second Amendment is “preserved through education and legal assistance.”

Mr Rittenhouse is listed as a director along with prominent state political activists Chris McNutt, the president of Texas Gun Rights, and the Defend Texas Liberty PAC treasurer Shelby Griesinger, The Tribune reported.

The foundation’s registered agent is the law firm of Tony McDonald, whose social media bio declares that he “sues the State of Texas for not being right wing enough”.

Mr Rittenhouse moved to Texas in 2022 after he was acquitted of murdering two Black Lives Matter protesters, Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum, who he shot and killed during a protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin in 2020.

The then-18-year-old became a star of right-wing media after the case, earning praise from Tucker Carlson, Donald Trump, and receiving rapturous receptions during appearances at CPAC and Turning Point USA conventions.

Since arriving in Texas, Mr Rittenhouse has continued to court the limelight by throwing himself into the increasingly volatile world of Republican state politics.

Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted of murdering two BLM protesters in 2020

He appeared at a “rally against censorship” in January alongside Daniel Miller, the president of the secessionist Texas Nationalist Movement.

He joined gun rights activists in opposing a Texas state house bill that sought to raise the minimum age to purchase semi-automatic weapons from 18 to 21, in the wake of the Uvalde school shooting a year earlier.

He weighed in to support embattled Texas state attorney general Ken Paxton in his upcoming impeachment vote, which the Tribune described as exposing “long-simmering and bitter divisions within the Texas Republican Party”.

Mr Rittenhouse has also endorsed far-right GOP primary candidates who are trying to unseat sitting Republican House lawmakers.

“Brandon has my endorsement,” he wrote on Twitter this week, referring to gun rights activist Brandon Herrera, known as The AK Guy.

Brandon Herrera, The AK Guy, and Kyle Rittenhouse appearing on an episode of Mr Herrera’s YouTube show in October 2022

Mr Herrera is looking to defeat Congressman Tony Gonzalez, whose San Antonio district includes Uvalde, and backed a bipartisan gun safety bill in July last year.

Mr Rittenhouse received more than $2m to support his criminal legal defence in 2021, and his supporters recently set up the Themis Alliance nonprofit, which aims to help provide public relations support and legal defences for so-called victims of “cancel culture”.

John Huber, whose son Anthony was shot dead by Mr Rittenhouse, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against him, Kenosha city officials and its police force accusing them of violating his son’s constitutional rights.

Mr Rittenhouse has raised $250,000 in donations for a legal defence fund to fight the lawsuit.

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