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Judge decides fate of Kyle Rittenhouse’s AR-15 rifle

Kyle Rittenhouse during his trial in Kenosha Circuit Court, Nov. 2, 2021 in Wisconsin. (Mark Hertzberg/Pool/Zuma Press/TNS)
January 31, 2022

The firearm that Kyle Rittenhouse used in self-defense against three attackers during a riot in Kenosha, Wis., will be destroyed, a Wisconsin judge decided last week.

During a hearing on Friday, Judge Bruce Schroeder approved an agreement between attorneys that called for the AR-15 to be destroyed. Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger said the state crime lab would likely destroy the rifle in April, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.  

Rittenhouse did not appear in the courtroom during the hearing.

Mark Richards, Rittenhouse’s attorney, filed a motion with the Kenosha County Circuit Court on Jan. 19 asking for the firearm to be returned to his client. Kenosha News reported that Richards explained Rittenhouse wants his AR-15 back so it can be destroyed. 

Rittenhouse spokesman Dave Hancock told a Kenosha News reporter in a text that the motion was necessary “legal process … The DA (Kenosha County district attorney) must return his belongings. When the rifle is returned, it will be destroyed.”

Hancock has previously said, “There’s nothing to celebrate about that weapon; there isn’t. Kyle has no interest and no want to recover that weapon, and absolutely no interest to sell it or anything.”

According to the Sun-Times, the agreement included a provision to have the gun’s destruction recorded. The remaining items that were seized by law enforcement when Rittenhouse was arrested have been returned to the now 19-year-old.

Additionally, Richards filed a motion last week seeking the return of the $2 million that supporters raised for Rittenhouse’s bail. Richards said he intends to split the money between his law firm and the #FightBack Foundation, which was created by attorneys Lin Wood and John Pierce, who first represented Rittenhouse.

However, the Patent and Trademark Hedge Fund Trust also filed a motion for the hefty sum, claiming that they deserve the money because they are Pierce’s creditors.

It is unclear when a decision will be reached.

In December, during an appearance on The Charlie Kirk Show, Rittenhouse said he didn’t “want anything to do with” his AR-15. The teen had broken down in tears during his trial in November as he described using the weapon to kill two men and injure a third in self-defense. His lawyers later revealed that the teen was suffering from PTSD as a result.

Rittenhouse said he was shocked when, during the trial, Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger raised the AR-15 in court and pointed it at the jury with his finger on the trigger.

“He was pointing the gun at the gallery, and I looked at my attorney, I looked at [Corey Chirafisi], and I said, ‘Corey, that’s Gun Safety 101,’” Rittenhouse commented.

“Loaded or unloaded, treat a gun like it’s loaded,” he added.