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Kyle Rittenhouse is charged with first-degree reckless homicide and first-degree intentional homicide after shooting three people, killing two of them, at a Black Lives Matter protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last week. You’d think that would be his lawyer’s main concern, but go figure—the new far-right celebrity has a lawyer who’s interested in turning a misdemeanor charge for possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18 into a Second Amendment case.

Attorney John Pierce of Pierce Bainbridge, who has also represented Rudy Giuliani and former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, plans to argue that Rittenhouse, at 17, could be part of the “well regulated militia” of the Second Amendment. It’s a blatant attempt to distract from the people Rittenhouse murdered, to make his case about gun rights (for homicidal 17-year-olds) rather than deadly violence.

MSNBC legal analyst Danny Cevallos writes that the defense is unlikely to work on a legal level, but the fact that Pierce is getting attention for the gun charge at all is a win for the distraction effort. And with Donald Trump defending Rittenhouse from the White House—part of his ongoing refusal to denounce violence from his supporters—and many others on the far right arguing that Rittenhouse was justified, Pierce has plenty of distractions.

Let’s be clear: Kyle Rittenhouse shot three people. He killed two of them. He did this while hanging with a militia group that included at least one person who has promoted white supremacist propaganda. Trying to turn his crimes into a question of whether a 17-year-old can carry an AR-15-style rifle is outrageous—and totally par for the course for the far right.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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