Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo has had some success with tasking large working groups to tackle difficult subjects in the past, most notably her efforts in Medicaid and criminal justice. Her new working group will take on the difficult issues of school safety, gun violence prevention and mental health.
“Not a day has passed since the heartbreaking shooting in Parkland that these seventeen students and teachers haven’t been on my mind. With Congress continuing to drag its feet, states need to step up and take action now to keep our communities safe,” said Raimondo at a State House press conference to announce the group. “This task force represents a breadth of expertise on school safety, gun violence prevention and mental health, and I am confident that, together, we will chart a course toward a safer and more secure Rhode Island.”
The Gun Safety Working Group will be chaired by Narragansett Town Manager James Manni and Dr. Megan Ranney, an Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at Rhode Island Hospital/Alpert Medical School.
“Gun violence is a public health issue that touches all Rhode Islanders,” said Dr Ranney. “As a doctor, I see both the injuries and their long-term impact on our state. Rhode Island needs coalitions that create consensus based on facts and evidence, not partisan politics, to reduce the number of gun injuries and all of their associated costs. I look forward to bringing my background in emergency medicine and health services to this important task force.”
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“People in every community have been impacted by gun violence, and too many of us have seen these impacts firsthand,” said Manni, who is also a former Rhode Island State Police major, an expert firearms trainer and a member of the National Rifle Association (NRA). “This is a complex issue with strong opinions on every side. By bringing so many experts to the table and having an open and honest discussion about the steps we can take, I know we’ll be able to make a real difference for the people of Rhode Island.”
The Gun Safety Working Group includes individuals from the law enforcement, mental health, nonprofit, public policy and education communities.
From the press release:
“The Gun Safety Working Group will meet monthly to discuss and develop recommendations to counteract the gun violence epidemic. The issues to be considered by this task force include identifying loopholes in the background check system and reporting processes for individuals who should not have access to firearms, preparing for and preventing mass shooting events including school shootings, and addressing domestic violence, suicide, and mental health. The Working Group also will support the Regional Gun Violence Research Consortium established in February by Governor Raimondo along with the governors of Connecticut, New York and New Jersey.
“The first meeting of the Gun Safety Working Group will be the week of April 22.
Members of the Gun Safety Working Group include:
Dr. Megan Ranney, Working Group Chair
James Manni, Working Group Chair
Capt. Derek Borek
Chief Dean Hoxsie
Chief Edward Mello
Chief Hugh Clements
Chief James Mendonca
Colonel Ann Assumpico
Dr. Jill Doerner
Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott
Jennifer Smith Boylan
Major Michael Jagoda
Paul Bueno de Mesquita
Senator Erin Lynch Prata (Democrat, District 31, Warwick, Cranston)
Additional members may be added.
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