Rittenhouse was acquitted of first-degree intentional homicide and four other charges related to the fatal shooting of two Black Lives Matter protesters in 2020, an act he said was self-defense. After moving to Texas, Rittenhouse has become involved in Texas politics, rallying with right-wing candidates, including a Texas secessionist leader.
The Texas Tribune first reported on the nonprofit, which filed papers with the Texas Secretary of State’s office in July 2023. According to the papers, the goal of The Rittenhouse Foundation is to protect Second Amendment rights through education and legal assistance.
Rittenhouse supporters donated more than $2 million to aid his legal defense, but conservative politicians and activists complained of censorship when some platforms removed campaigns for violating their terms of service or community guidelines.
In founding the nonprofit, Rittenhouse is being backed by big names in Texas politics. Texas Gun Rights President Chris McNutt and treasurer for Defend Texas Liberty PAC Shelby Griesinger are listed as directors along with Rittenhouse, per Forbes. The foundation’s registered agent also has connections to conservative causes in the state.
Rittenhouse has previously been active in efforts to fight gun reform in the state, opposing a bill that would have raised the minimum age to purchase an automatic weapon to 21 instead of 18 and backing a gun rights activist running against U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales.
Gonzales, a Republican, represents the district that includes Uvalde, where 19 children and two adults were killed in a shooting at an elementary school. He was the only Texas Republican to vote for a bipartisan gun reform bill in the U.S. House.
Some of those responsible for Rittenhouse’s defense efforts have also formed their own nonprofit, the Themis Alliance, which aims to help provide public relations support and legal defenses for people who are a target of what they call “cancel culture.”