Civil Rights

Rhode Island Legislative Black and Latino Caucus calls for passage of gun sense legislation

“This country has stronger laws to prevent women from getting and abortion and for banning books and not accepting the truth about our history – but we have yet to act when it comes to addressing easily accessible gun purchases,” said Representative Karen Alzate.
Photo for Rhode Island Legislative Black and Latino Caucus calls for passage of gun sense legislation

Published on May 31, 2022
By Steve Ahlquist

“I don’t have a lot of words,” said Representative Karen Alzate (Democrat, District 60, Pawtucket). “The only thing I can come up with is that I am feeling hopeless and I am very upset.”

Alzate was speaking on the Smith Street side of the Rhode Island State House as leader of the Rhode Island Legislative Black and Latino Caucus and in response to the unspeakable tragedy of yet another gunman killing children and teachers in their classroom last Thursday.

“This did not happen in Rhode Island, however, we cannot wait until it happens here for us to act. We must act now!” said Representative Alzate.

Representative Alzate was joined by members of the caucus, legislative allies, as well as Governor Daniel McKee and Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea.

Representative Alzate said that the Black and Latino Caucus supports the legislation being advanced by members of the House and Senate to curb gun violence. This legislation includes:

  • Limit Magazine Capacity to 10 Rounds H6614 (Caldwell) S2653 (Coyne)
  • Regulate Assault Weapons H6615 (Caldwell) S2224 (Miller)
  • Prohibit Open Carry in Public H7358 (Felix) S2825 (McCaffrey)
  • Raise the Age to 21 to Buy Long Guns and Ammo H7457 (Tanzi) S2637 (Goodwin)
  • Strengthen Safe Firearm Storage Laws H7300 (Caldwell) S2734 (Seveney)

Of course, if General Assembly leadership, specifically Speaker of the House Joseph Shekarchi and Senate President Dominick Ruggerio don’t allow the bills to come to the floor, the legislation will die in committee, as it does every year. There are legislative procedures to bring a bill directly to the floor, bypassing at the committee process, but no legislators seem keen on risking the wrath of leadership to try such a move. Uprise RI asked Representative Alzate what the plan was to get these bills to the floor of their respective chambers and force a vote.

“I’ve been talking to the leadership, I talk with my colleagues constantly. This is something we’ve been talking about in the past day,” replied Representative Alzate.

As this piece went to press, Senate President Ruggerio and Speaker Shekarchi released the following statement: “We are committed to passing meaningful gun reform legislation this session.  We have been working on this issue with the sponsors and committee chairs for several months.”

“Do you think you have a majority on the floor for when they get there?” asked Uprise RI.

“100%. And I think we have [a majority] in both chambers,” said Representative Alzate.

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