Providence City Council President David Salvatore and the crest of the city council today announced their intention to request legislation that would enable Rhode Island municipalities to regulate firearms. The proposed legislation would remove section 11-47-58 – The Firearms States Preemption clause – of Rhode Island’s Criminal Offense Code. Its removal would enable municipalities like Providence to enact regulations around firearms and their components. The law preempting local municipalities from regulating firearms was passed in 1986.
“It is a very sad day in our nation when our children are so fearful for their safety that they feel they need to march on their United States and state capitols,” said Salvatore. “Our children have become the voices of reason in the debate over gun control, and they have every right to be outraged over the senseless deaths of their friends and peers. I stand with our youth in this fight for justice. Enough is enough.
“We must do everything in our power to ensure that there is never another Columbine, Sandy Hook, or Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Our commander in chief’s solution to prevent another school massacre is to actually suggest arming teachers. Our schools are not prisons. Since it is clear we are not hearing reason from federal officials, we must create proactive solutions at the municipal level. This legislation would give us the tools to enact meaningful firearm laws that work for Providence, that fit the needs of our citizens, and that serve to keep us safer than we are today.”
The entire city council, save Councilmember Luis Aponte, is listed as supporting the legislation. The legislation will be sponsored by Rhode Island State Senator Gayle Goldin (Democrat, District 3, Providence) and Representative Marcia Ranglin-Vassell (Democrat, District 5, Providence).
“Like thousands of parents in Rhode Island, I have sent my kids off to school every day since the Parkland massacre with fear and grief in my heart,” said Senator Goldin. “It is unacceptable for us to wait any longer to change our gun laws. Since Congress won’t take action, we must. The people of our capital city have had enough with the NRA. It is time to repeal this absurd NRA-backed state law blocking municipalities, like Providence, that are willing to take on gun safety. Together, we can ensure that state, cities and towns move swiftly to give our citizens the protections from gun violence that they deserve.”
“Gun violence has been a public health issue in this country and in the core urban areas of our state for a very long time,” said Representative Ranglin-Vassell. “We can fix it through sound intentional legislation, high paying sustainable jobs for young people and their families, and robust investment in small business development. I am a parent and a school teacher here in the capital city. Sadly, I have lost far too many of my own students who have been shot and killed. Almost every day, I speak with and mourn with mothers who have lost their children. Unfortunately, some of the murders are still unsolved. There is a push to arm teachers. My colleagues and I are teachers, not law enforcement officers, and we will not carry guns to school. Legislation like this is a win-win for all of us, and we cannot wait.”
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