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Gun coalition responds to statements made at RI Dem Party platform meeting



On Monday, many called for a ‘big tent’ Democratic Party, but their vision for the party is one in which only their conservative values are allowed to be heard,” said Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence (RICAGV) President Linda Finn. “Right now the Democratic Party of Rhode Island does not have a big tent. Rather, it has a very small tent where only insiders and corporate lobbyists can gain admittance, and the rest of Rhode Island’s Democrats are locked out and kept voiceless. The vast majority of Rhode Island Democrats support gun safety legislation, and the party’s platform needs to reflect that, or the party risks losing an entire generation of young people who will see the party as not reflecting their values.”

During Monday evening’s Rhode Island Democratic Party Platform Meeting many platform committee members called for a Democratic Party with “traditional” and “conservative” values, said the RICAGV in a press release, referring to a story on UpRiseRI here. Despite calls for a “big tent” party, one committee member, Representative Arthur Corvese (Democrat, District 55, North Providence), told advocates of gun safety legislation and other progressive priorities, “If you don’t like it, peel away and create the Social Democratic Party.”

RICAGV continues:

The Rhode Island Democratic Party is currently out-of-step with both the national Democratic Party and the views of Rhode Island Democrats. The RICAGV drew language from the National Democratic Party platform when we wrote our ideal language for the Rhode Island Democratic Party to adopt around gun control. The national party platform even explicitly reads “keep weapons of war-such as assault weapons and large capacity ammunition magazines off our streets.” Rhode Island Democratic voters overwhelmingly support gun control and gun safety measures. A recent poll conducted by WPRI and Roger Williams University found that an overwhelming 71 percent of Democrats support banning assault weapons. Other polls have consistently shown strong support for gun safety legislation among Democrats both nationally and in Rhode Island. Those who paint support for gun control as part of a fringe, leftist agenda do the Democratic Party of Rhode Island a grave disservice.

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Steve Ahlquist is a frontline reporter in Rhode Island. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for nearly a decade.