After Rittenhouse verdict, Jacob Blake's family seeks gun law changes

A new proposal would change the law that allowed Kyle Rittenhouse to have a rifle the night of Aug. 25. A group of Democratic lawmakers wants to change the wording about when minors can have a gun. 

On Aug. 25, 2020, Rittenhouse went to Kenosha with a military-style rifle. A jury found he was acting in self-defense when he used the rifle to shoot and kill two people.
Rittenhouse was only 17 at the time, but Wisconsin law allows minors to possess a long gun or rifle with a barrel that is longer than 16 inches. The weapons charge against Kyle Rittenhouse was dropped because of this law. 

On Tuesday, Nov. 30, Rev. Jesse Jackson joined Justin Blake and other activists in Kenosha to push for change.

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"Minors should not bear arms, particularly in a peaceful protest, particularly in an environment that is not related to hunting," said Bishop Tavis Grant, Rainbow PUSH Coalition.

A group of Democratic state lawmakers is proposing clarifying the state law to add that a minor may only possess a long gun or rifle "if they are legally hunting and in compliance with Wisconsin's hunting laws."

The change is being proposed by Senator Melissa Agard (D-Madison), Senator Bob Wirch (D-Somers), Representative Tod Ohnstad (D-Kenosha), Representative Tip McGuire (D-Kenosha) and Representative Deb Andraca (D-Whitefish Bay). The lawmakers say the change will close a loophole while still honoring Wisconsin's hunting tradition. 

Republican Senator Van Wanggaard said in a statement:

"In the last 30 years, the law hasn't been a problem and there have been no issues. Rushing to change any law based on a single event or incident is never a good idea. I will look at the legislation, and take a deliberative approach to it, like I do all bills."

Justin Blake says they are working to put together a 2022 social justice agenda titled "Reimagine Kenosha."

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