Columbine, Sandy Hook, Pulse Night Club, Las Vegas, Sutherland Springs Church, and, now, Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. 17 young, beautiful lives eviscerated by a man with a weapon intended solely for battlefields. All the drills and even campus police weren’t able to withstand the firepower of the shooter’s AR-15 at Stoneman High School.

This shooting marks the 18th school shooting in the United States this year. The Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence (RICAGV) recognizes that here in Rhode Island we are particularly vulnerable, unlike our neighboring states of Massachusetts and Connecticut, Rhode Island has not yet banned military assault weapons, and places no limit on magazine capacities. We are also one of only four states that generally allow the concealed carry of firearms in K-12 schools. We are outliers both regionally and nationally when it comes to the concealed carry of firearms in K-12 schools.

Guns have no places in our nation’s schools. It is time to work together as citizens, as legislators, and as organizations to stop the threat that militarized weapons pose to our communities.

“Tomorrow, I will introduce a bill to ban assault weapons in Rhode Island,” said Rhode Island State Senator Joshua Miller (Democrat, District 28, Cranston). “I understand the urgent need to end gun violence in Rhode Island, and believe that by banning military style weapons we are moving in the right direction.”

“Gun violence is a full blown public health crisis. We need to take quick and decisive action to protect our people,” said Rhode Island State Representative Jason Knight (Democrat, District 67, Warren). “It will take a multi-pronged strategy that includes banning the sale and ownership of assault weapons. There purpose goes far beyond defense of self and home. There is no place for them in civil society.”

There will never be a legislative solution to cure the malice that resides in the heart of evil doers. But we can and must ban highly lethal weapons of war in the hands of civilians. The RICAGV again implores our state legislators to join our neighboring New England states and ban Assault Weapons and guns in schools.