Tim Pool Follow-Up: What’s the Deal with the Dominick Black Gun Charge?

It’s come to my attention that some folks with a limited grasp of how the law works were confused by some of my commentary regarding the Dominick Black gun charge during my recent appearance on the Tim Pool IRL.  Always on the lookout for a teachable moment, I thought I’d take few minutes to bring clarity to the confusion apparently plaguing some minds.

As usual, the problem is that some people are failing to fully engage their mental gears to the extent they think they are, and as a result they fail to understand even the actual question being answered, much less the correctness of the answer being provided.

Dominick Black, you may recall was the friend who purchased the AR-15 pattern rifle that Kyle Rittenhouse would use so successfully in self-defense in Kenosha WI.  Within days of that event, however, Rittenhouse was charged with a variety of crimes, including the misdemeanor of being someone under 18 years old in possession of a deadly weapon–that rifle purchased by Black.  Not very long afterward Black would find himself charged with his own criminal offense–that of having provided a minor with a deadly weapon which was later involved in a death.

Although both of these crimes are found in separate sections of a single statute, they are in every legal sense nevertheless distinct crimes, with distinct legal elements.  One can be guilty of one and not the other, or the other and not the one.

Indeed, Rittenhouse was charged with the possession crime but not the provision crime, and Black was charged with the provision crime but not the possession crime. Because possession and provision are two different crimes.

I hope everybody is still with me–and if this explanation sounds painstaking, my apologies it’s because I’ve found that certain folks need every single breadcrumb in the reasoning trail.

The possession charge against Rittenhouse was dismissed shortly before the jury was given its final instructions and sent to deliberate–and rightfully so, as Kyle was never legally subject to the charged offense in any case, for reasons I cover in detail here:

Rittenhouse: Should Misdemeanor Gun Charge Just Be Dismissed?

When the matter of the Dominick Black gun provision charge came up on Tim’s show, the issue arose as to whether Black’s gun provision charge should be dismissed because Kyle’s gun possession charge was dismissed.  My answer was that I saw no reason why that would be the case.

Let me re-state that again because precision of language is important in the law:  My answer was that I saw no reason why Black’s gun provision charge should be dismissed because Kyle’s gun possession charge was dismissed.  (Pay attention to that “because,” well, because it makes all the difference.)

My answer to that question is the correct answer because the two statutes involved are distinct criminal violations, each with its own elements, and neither is itself an element or required component of the other.

That is, there are factual scenarios in which one person could be in criminal violation of having unlawfully provided a gun without the recipient being in unlawful possession of that gun, and there are factual scenarios in which one person could be in criminal violation of unlawful possession of the gun without the gun having been provided unlawfully.

The crimes might occur simultaneously with each other, as the prosecution argued with respect to Kyle and Black (mistakenly, on the facts), but that need not necessarily be the case, as each is a distinct criminal offense, and neither requires the other.

Now, there are criminal offenses that cannot exist without the simultaneous presence of some other criminal offense, where one is a required element of the other or a predicate of the other.  In that circumstance, the loss of the second required offense or predicate offense means that they both legally dissolve.  In such a case, one charge does disappear because the other has disappeared.

The charge of being an accessory to a crime, for example, requires the underlying predicate crime–such as someone being the lookout for a burglary actually being committed by another person.  If someone has been charged as an accessory to burglary, but then it’s determined the other person’s conduct was not burglary, then the accessory charge dissolves as a matter of law.  The accessory charge cannot exist without the underlying predicate crime.  In our example there can be no accessory to burglary without the underlying predicate burglary.

The accessory to burglary charge disappears because the burglary charge has disappeared.

Similarly, the crime of felony murder requires an underlying predicate felony.  If someone is charged with felony murder, but then the underlying crime is determined to be a mere misdemeanor or not a crime at all, the felony murder charge dissolves as a matter of law.  The felony murder charge cannot exist without the underlying predicate felony.

The felony murder charge disappears because the felony disappeared.

Now, in theory, the Wisconsin legislature could have created such a dependency between the Black gun charge and the Kyle gun charge, such that one could not exist in the absence of the other.  In that case, the dismissal of one would necessarily result because of the dismissal of the other.

That, however, is not Wisconsin law.  There exists no such predicate relationship between the unlawful gun possession charge against Kyle and the unlawful gun provision charge against Black.  They are unrelated criminal offenses, with neither being a required element or predicate of the other–they each stand alone, each independent of the other.

Because they each stand alone, neither automatically gets dismissed or dissolved as a matter of law simply because the other no longer exists.  Whether Black is guilty of unlawful gun provision is not dependent on whether Rittenhouse is guilty of unlawful gun possession, and vice versa.

Two distinct criminal offenses, neither requiring the presence of the other.

Or, as I said on Tim’s show, there’s no legal reason why Black’s unlawful gun provision charge would be dismissed simply because Kyle’s unlawful gun possession charge was dismissed.

And that’s 100% correct. It was correct on Tim’s show, and it still is correct today.

Now, there’s a different question that I was not answering–and if I had been answering the different question my answer would have been different.

And I’m afraid there are a lot of people who heard me answer the question of whether Black’s charge gets dismissed because Kyle’s charge got dismissed, and imagined that I was answering this entirely different question.

What’s the different question? This: does the unlawful gun provision charge against Black share the same “exclusion” provision as does the unlawful gun possession charge against Rittenhouse? In other words, is there a common “exclusion” mechanism that can apply independently to each charge, regardless of the status of the other, or even if the other was ever charged at all?

As it happens, the answer to that question is yes–the unlawful gun provision charge against Black happens to enjoy the same “exclusion” provision as does the unlawful gun possession charge against Kyle.

Accordingly, Black’s gun charge should be dismissed for the same reason Kyle’s gun charge should be dismissed.

But that’s not the same thing as saying that Black’s charge should be dismissed because Kyle’s was dismissed–there is no because, because the two statutes are not dependent on each other.  Each ought to be dismissed on its own legal merits, and that would be true even if the second charge had never been brought. Again, there is absolutely no dependency between the two at all.

The question I answered on Tim’s show was whether Black’s charge gets dismissed because Kyle’s charge got dismissed, and the answer to that question was correctly answered no, is correctly answered no, and remains correctly answered no, unless the relevant statutes are changed sometime in the future.

The question that I was not answering on Tim’s show was whether the “exclusion” language that applied to Kyle’s gun charge also applied to Black’s gun charge.  It should go without saying that I can’t very well provide a wrong answer to a question I wasn’t answering in the first place.

Now, had I been asked on Tim’s show whether the “exclusion” language applied to both charges, I would have answered “I don’t know”–my interest is not gun law, it’s use-of-force law, and so I’ve no great interest in the criminal charge against Black and hadn’t bothered looking at it closely prior to my appearance on the show.

But I wasn’t answering that question.

The question I was answering was whether Black’s charge gets dismissed because Kyle’s charge got dismissed–is one dependent on or a predicate of the other–and the correct answer to that question, as provided on the show, is “No.”

In summary:

The question I actually answered:  Does Black’s gun provision charge get dismissed because Kyle’s gun possession charge got dismissed? No, because there’s no dependency between the two distinct criminal offenses, either can exist independently of the other.

The question I was not answering:  Does Black’s gun provision charge get independently dismissed on the same grounds as Kyle’s gun possession charge got dismissed. The answer to that question is yes, they both independently benefit from the same exclusion provision.

Anyone conflating those two questions shouldn’t be surprised when they are confused by even the correct answers.

Hopefully, that clears the issue up for anyone who cares, and for those who still don’t get it–my apologies, but my even my powers of explanation are not infinite.

In closing, for any of you who would like to avoid falling into the same broken thinking that led many into the thinking error I’ve just described, you might be interested in this opportunity to gain genuine expertise in the law:

Law of Self Defense ADVANCED Class: Sat. Jan. 8, 2022

Perhaps once every 12 or 18 months we do one of our full-day Law of Self Defense ADVANCED Self-defense Law Classes.

This is a full-day class that’s the equivalent of a law school seminar on self-defense law, applicable to all 50 states, and taught in my usual plain English style without any confusing legalese. This class is taught live by me, streamed to you at your computer using Zoom, and there is plenty of opportunity for live Q&A with me during the class.

Because we allow for Q&A, however, we have to sharply limit the number of seats available, so on the rare occasions when we do one of our Law of Self Defense ADVANCED Self-defense Law Classes, they invariably fill up almost immediately after we announce the date.

And we’ve announced the date for this one:   It’s taking place on Saturday, January 8, 2022. If you’ve ever wanted a true mastery of the law of self-defense, here’s the best—really, among the only—opportunities to grab that expertise with both hands.

Again, seats are already going fast, so if you’re at all interested, I urge you to GRAB YOUR SLOT TODAY!

Until next time:


You carry a gun so you’re hard to kill.

Know the law so you’re hard to convict.

Stay safe!


Attorney Andrew F. Branca
Law of Self Defense LLC

Law of Self Defense Platinum Protection Program

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6 thoughts on “Tim Pool Follow-Up: What’s the Deal with the Dominick Black Gun Charge?”

  1. Sounds like you are saying the same thing my moma taught me from the time I was 3 years old: “Every tub sets on its own bottom.” Or as the Missouri Supreme Court said 150 years ago: “A defendant is guilty or innocent based on his own conduct and not the conduct of others.” In the cases against Rittenhouse and Black, neither complaint alleges that the defendants engaged in conduct that is prohibited by the statute they are accused of violating There shoud be a term for that—like “failure to prosecute” or “failure to state a claim.” Or maybe the proper term is “political prosecution” or “malicious prosecution.”

  2. I guess I simply don’t understand or agree with Wisconsin law. I took a self defense class in college. Every class, our instructor spent the first half of class drilling it in our heads that the only time you can claim self defense is if your life is in imminent danger. And you had better be able to prove in court that you literally had no other choice. She even showed us criminal and civil court cases where people had lost self defense cases. She taught us that if we brought an attacker down with or without a gun, once they are no longer a threat, you cannot kill them. That is murder. She also taught us that under no circumstances can you shoot someone in the back, ever. Even if they’re in your house. That is murder.

    1. I don’t quite understand where you got the notion that “under no circumstances can you shoot someone in the back, ever”. Putting aside the possibility of “defense of others”, there is definitively another case where it’s perfectly legal to shoot someone in the back: if, once you act on your decision to defend your life, the attacker twists or falls in such a way that bullets hit their back, you have still acted in self defense.

      Indeed, Massad Ayoob has talked about how quickly someone can turn away — and that the ability of someone to turn away can literally be done within the fraction of a second your mind says “fire”, and the signal travels to your finger to pull the trigger, and before your mind can say “stop, he’s no longer a threat”.

      Timing matters, too: Andrew Branca has talked about one case where a police officer acted in self defense for the first of several shots, then waited for several seconds, and then fired one last shot. That last shot got him convicted of murder. This is because someone shooting to defend their life will often fire several shots in rapid succession, because it’s not clear that one single shot will stop the threat.

      In your concern about Wisconsin law, I’m sure you’re referring to the bullet that hit Rosenbaum in the back. That bullet is one of four that count as a single self defense action: Kyle didn’t know, indeed he didn’t have time to know, whether the first bullet would be sufficient to stop Rosenbaum from lungeing for Kyle’s gun — and what’s more, Kyle didn’t have the luxury to know that the first shot or two hit Rosenbaum’s hip, causing him to fall forward — and thus, Kyle had no way to know that the bullet that ultimately hit Rosenbaum’s back, was going to. The trial also made it clear that these four shots were all made in less than a second — so Kyle didn’t even have the time to stop and say “ok, only three bullets were needed”.

      Now, had Kyle turned around and shot Rosenbaum in the back with one more round, that would have been murder. But that’s not what happened, and we have plenty of video to prove it! (And that video has been drilled into our heads time and time again, for those of us who were closely watching the trial.)

      1. Agreed & well stated. Along with the reasons/scenarios you listed, one more way it would be fully legal & justified to shoot a perpetrator in the back would be in defense of others.
        For example, if you saw an enraged man with a knife in his hand that was running towards another person in an obvious attempt to stab that person, you’re fully justified in shooting that perpetrator in the back, in order to save the life of that other person.

        There are no two scenarios exactly the same, but no matter the scenario, one of the most important key points is…. Is that perpetrator presenting a deadly threat of great bodily harm or death to you or another person, as would be perceived by reasonable persons, at that very moment in time you pulled the trigger. The perp’s body position would be immaterial.

  3. In my old age, either I’m being covertly graced with super-intelligence from invisible ‘smart beams’ from unknown extraterrestrial sources OR it seems the entire world is ‘dumbing down’ to Neanderthal levels more & more each passing day/year. Andrew, although I didn’t see your appearance on Tim Pool’s IRL broadcast, I fully understood ever aspect on the question & our answer, and fully agree with your answer, while fully understanding it all in the first minute of your video explanation here. How so many ppl cannot even understand the basic, yet vital, meaning of the simple word “BECAUSE” is truly baffling.
    Yet THAT is just merely one of countless examples of why I’m genuinely scared to death of ANY jury, should I ever happen to be falsely accused of any crime and face trial.

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