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Governor Raimondo and AG Neronha unveil package of gun violence prevention bills



In just the past few months, we’ve seen horrific acts of gun violence across the country and here at home in communities like Westerly and Pawtucket,” said Governor Raimondo. “We owe it to Rhode Islanders to pass common-sense gun safety measures, and we simply cannot wait any longer.”

Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo and Attorney General Peter Neronha were joined this afternoon by legislative leaders, activists, and members of law enforcement as they unveiled their package of comprehensive gun safety reforms. In addition to four new bills they have submitted to the General Assembly, the Governor and Attorney General are supporting four bills that were introduced by members of the General Assembly earlier in the legislative session.

The four new bills introduced by the Governor and Attorney General are:

  • Straw Purchasers: Makes it a crime to purchase a firearm on behalf of another person who the purchaser knows or suspects would be prohibited from purchasing or possessing a gun themselves.
  • Safe Schools: Prevents people with concealed carry permits from carrying weapons on school grounds. This legislation includes exceptions for active and retired law enforcement.
  • Safe Storage: Requires that all firearms be stored safely (i.e., locked and unloaded) unless under the direct control of the firearm owner or another authorized user.
  • Rifles and Shotguns on Public Roads: Prohibits loaded rifles and shotguns from being carried on public rights of way in Rhode Island, either within or outside a vehicle. This legislation includes exemptions for law enforcement and hunters engaged in lawful hunting activity.

The Governor and the Attorney General are also supporting the following bills:

  • Assault Weapons Ban, H7263/S2131: Bans all semi-automatic rifles, shotguns, and pistols that can hold a detachable magazine or more than a certain number of rounds without a magazine; and contains at least one of the other features associated with assault weapons specified in the law.
  • High-Capacity Magazine Ban, H7264/S2130: Limits all firearm magazines to 10 rounds. People in possession of these magazines would have 180 days to sell, modify, or dispose of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. The bill contains limited exceptions for law enforcement and active duty military.
  • 3D/Ghost Gun Ban, H7102/S2004: Bans the manufacturing, importation, sale, shipment, delivery, possession or transfer of undetectable firearms.
  • Background Check Loophole Closure, H7103/S2154/S2261: Provides that applications to purchase firearms be sent by the seller to the police department in the city or town where the purchaser lives.

“Every year over 36,000 Americans are killed in acts of gun violence, and approximately 100,000 more are shot and injured,” said Jennifer Boylan, a volunteer with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, who emceed the event. “With death and injury tolls this high, America is undeniably a nation of gun violence survivors. Firearms are the second leading cause of death for children and teens and the first leading cause of death for black children and teens in the United States.”

“In just the past few months, we’ve seen horrific acts of gun violence across the country and here at home in communities like Westerly and Pawtucket,” said Governor Raimondo. “We owe it to Rhode Islanders to pass common-sense gun safety measures, and we simply cannot wait any longer. I’m proud to support these critical reforms, and I’m grateful to my colleagues in the General Assembly who wasted no time in introducing potentially lifesaving legislation.”

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“My Office sees the fallout from gun violence every day, particularly on victims and their families,” said Attorney General Neronha. “Certainly, aggressive prosecution of those who engage in such conduct is warranted and is among this Office’s highest priorities. Yet there is still more to do on the prevention side – to keep guns out the hands of those of those shouldn’t have them in the first place, for mental health and other reasons; to make unavailable certain kinds of firearms that can cause the most damage to Rhode Islanders; and to ensure that firearms are safely stored and kept. The legislation announced today advances all of these goals, and this Office strongly supports all of them.”

“In every single incident across this country, when we have a mass shooting, we all reflect, could it happen here in one of our schools and if so, why?” said Steven Paré, Providence Public Safety Commissioner.

“My fellow organizers and I were sick of seeing just thoughts and prayers offered after these tragedies,” said Wassa Bagayoko from Thoughts Prayers Action. “We needed action, and that is what today is about.”

Wassa Bagayoko

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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.