Will Rittenhouse really destroy the AR-15 type rifle he used to kill two people or will he raffle it off. If anything, he’ll need to auction off the t-shirt to afford the legal defense in a wrongful death suit.

You have to wait until the case is definitively over before you can get back property held for evidence. There’s a short window for claiming your items in some jurisdictions.


Kyle Rittenhouse Seeks Return Of Gun Used During Kenosha Protest 

KENOSHA, Wis. (AP) — Kyle Rittenhouse, the Illinois man acquitted of fatally shooting two men and wounding a third during street protests in Kenosha in 2020, is seeking the return of the gun and other property that police seized after his arrest.

Rittenhouse’s attorney Mark Richards filed paperwork with the Kenosha County Circuit Court on Wednesday seeking the return of the items, explaining that Rittenhouse wants the AR-15-style rifle back so that it can be destroyed, the Kenosha News reported. He also wants the clothing he was wearing the night of the shootings returned.

Law enforcement has had the gun since the day after Rittenhouse shot three men, two of them fatally, on Aug. 25, 2020, during a night of protests and unrest in the southeastern Wisconsin city of Kenosha over the shooting of a Black man, Jacob Blake, by a white police officer.

Rittenhouse’s request does raise some interesting questions about the market for murder weapons. 

Fifty years ago today (1 August 2016), Charles Whitman, a 25-year-old engineering student and former Marine armed with a small arsenal of weapons, killed 13 people and wounded over 30 more during a shooting rampage atop the University of Texas Tower in Austin. The episode casts a long and complicated shadow. It is considered by some to have marked the beginning of the era of mass shootings; for others, the armed civilians who engaged Whitman that day suggest one way to limit the scope of such attacks. (As survivors and mourners gather to mark the anniversary on Monday, a campus-carry law that allows firearms in university buildings in Texas will also go into effect.)

iu1
An assault rifle used in seven unsolved murders has been discovered on public display at the Imperial War Museum.
BBC Panorama has learned that investigators re-examining paramilitary murders in Northern Ireland found the gun on display in an exhibit on the Troubles.
The families of the murder victims had previously been told by the police that they had disposed of the weapon.
A senior officer says the Police Service of Northern Ireland fully supports an investigation into its history.
Forensic tests conducted in the 1990s showed the rifle was one of two weapons used in an attack on a Belfast betting shop in 1992.
Five Catholics, including a 15-year-old boy, were killed in the attack on the Ormeau Road by Protestant paramilitaries. www.bbc.com/…

For some hobbyists and weapons collectors, the anniversary might inspire different feelings and thoughts than it does for most people. Less than two years ago, the Remington 700 rifle used by Whitman that day went up for sale with an asking price of $25,000. According to reports, at least three bids for the rifle were issued. And though its sale to a private collector didn’t come without some outcry, it was at least the third time that the rifle had changed hands.

[…]

A Carcano Model 91/38 rifle is seen near where Lee Harvey Oswald ditched his 50 years earlier the Sixth Floor Museum formally the site of the Texas School Book Depository October 8, 2013 in Dallas, Texas. The sixth floor of the Dallas County Administration Building now houses the Sixth Floor Museum which is dedicated to the history behind the assassination of US President John F. Kennedy. November 22 will mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of JFK in Dallas's Dealey Plaza. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI        (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
History’s more infamous weapons don’t always end up in private collections, but those that do reveal a far-reaching market for the macabre. After a protracted legal battle, Jack Ruby’s .38 Colt Cobra revolver, which he used to kill Lee Harvey Oswald just two days after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, was sold for $220,000 in 1991 and nearly went up for auction again in 2008. Meanwhile, in the weeks after Kennedy’s death, Marina Oswald found herself in negotiations with John J. King, a Colorado oil baron and gun collector, over the Mannlicher-Carcano rifle thought to have killed the president. The two agreed on a price of $45,000, contingent upon her ability to deliver the rifle, but the federal government interceded and the weapon is now catalogued in the National Archives in Washington, D.C. A replica of the rifle remains on display at the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas, Texas. www.theatlantic.com/…

One person whose work requires navigating the murky waters of commerce and crime is Wes Cowan, an appraiser and auctioneer in Cincinnati and the host of PBS’s History Detectives, which ran from 2003 until 2014. “We don’t sell, quite frankly, and we have rejected selling firearms that were used in the commission of any modern crime,” Cowan says when I ask him about the auctioning of Whitman’s rifle.

But what happens once a crime ceases to be modern? As an example, Cowan offers that if weapons used in the 1929 St. Valentine’s Day Massacre became available, he would probably facilitate their sale. “It’s a very, very squishy area,” Cowan says. “How much time is enough time? There is the passage of time that takes place when one of these weapons that was used in some heinous crime could become more historically significant than sociologically significant.” In other words, there is no formula to determine whether or when an item is more meaningful in a historical sense than it is a relic of tragedy or trauma. “I think the bottom line is that it’s fairly subjective,” Cowan says.

George Zimmerman
There are exceptions. Earlier this year, Cowan’s company, among others, received calls from George Zimmerman, who was looking to auction the gun he used to kill Trayvon Martin in 2012. Citing the obvious ethical and moral objections, neither Cowan nor his associates returned the call.
Speaking to Reuters in 2016, Herman Darvick, who helped facilitate the sale of Jack Ruby’s pistol in 1991, suggested that a museum would be the most appropriate place for Zimmerman’s weapon. In many cases, that’s exactly where weapons used in notorious shootings tend to end up. The Deringer used by John Wilkes Booth to kill President Lincoln remains a centerpiece at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C., along with the bullet removed following the autopsy. In Memphis, an annex of the National Civil Rights Museum contains the rifle used by James Earl Ray in the murder of Martin Luther King, Jr., as well as the room in which Ray fired it.

As a gauge, I ask Cowan about the hypothetical sale of the Charter Arms .38-caliber pistol used by Mark David Chapman in the murder of John Lennon, which happened over 35 years ago in 1980. “I’m not sure we would do it,” Cowan offers, “but I guarantee some auctioneer would do it.” It’s unlikely that such a sale will take place in the foreseeable future; Chapman’s firearm is currently held in a ballistics cache at a Queens police facility.

The fate of Chapman’s weapon is revealing of how the rise of certain police procedures has reduced the accessibility of firearms used in modern crimes. “I think it’s important to realize that most of the historic outlaw or criminal weapons that appear on the market were also guns or weapons that were collected before there were such a thing as police evidence rooms, where stuff disappeared into and never came out of.” Cowan explains. “I think it would be very unlikely that a weapon that was used in a modern crime would ever get out of a police evidence room.”

www.theatlantic.com/…

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

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