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Central Falls City Council passes a resolution in support of gun safety bills



The actions of the Central Falls City Council are in sharp contrast to town councils elsewhere in Rhode Island that are declaring themselves Second Amendment Sanctuary Towns.

On a 5-0 vote, the Central Falls City Council passed a resolution Monday evening calling on the Rhode Island General Assembly “to make our community safer” by banning assault weapons, high capacity magazines and concealed weapons on school grounds. Bills to accomplish these goals have been introduced in both the House and the Senate, and heard in committee.[note]The bills:

Assault Weapon ban: H5741/S0635

High Capacity Magazine ban: H5739/S0637

No Guns in Schools: H5762/S0636[/note]

During public comment, Central Falls resident Claire McWilliams, a K-12 public school teacher with three decades of experience, wearing a red Moms Demand Action tee shirt spoke in favor of the resolution, saying, “I really commend this City Council for taking on this issue as a city. I have not heard of too many that have done it and I think it sends a very good message that a community is in support of these bills.”

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McWilliams talked specifically about her support for H5762/S0636, bills that will prevent concealed carry permit holders from bringing their guns into a school.

“No matter how a gun finds its way into our schools it always takes a toll on our community and makes our learning environments less safe,” said McWilliams. “The best way to keep our schools safe is by enacting common-sense measures that will keep guns out of our schools. Letting anyone with a concealed carry permit in some of the most sensitive places in Rhode Island does not make schools safer. In fact, it does the opposite as our law enforcement have testified…

“It’s utterly false that someone who has a concealed carry permit would be able to protect our children from an active shooter,” continued McWilliams. “Allowing guns into school adds the risk of unintentional or intentional shootings, something no one wants to see.”

You can listen to her entire testimony here:

“I’d like to preface my remarks by saying that I am certainly a true, second amendment person,” said Central Falls City Councilmember Robert Ferri (Ward 2), ahead of the vote. “However, I read this and I like it. I think it’s terrific. I’ve worked at schools. I’ve coached basketball and softball for many years in high schools. I’ve worked with youth through the CYO program. I’ve always considered the most precious asset we have is our children, our school children. Yes, they should be safe in and around the schools and at all times.

“For that reason I will support this resolution.”

After Ferri finished, Council President Maria Rivera (at large) called for a vote. The resolution was approved.

“Thank you very much,” said McWilliams.

The resolution:

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About the Author

Steve Ahlquist is Uprise RI's co-founder and lead reporter. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for nearly a decade.