Editorial & Opinion

RICAGV: In wake of violence, advocates call on lawmakers to move gun bills out of committee

“In less than 48 Hours in Providence and Pawtucket 12 people were shot and two left dead. Thursday’s horrific mass shooting was the largest in recent Providence history, and police believe up to five semiautomatic handguns were involved.”
Photo for RICAGV: In wake of violence, advocates call on lawmakers to move gun bills out of committee

The Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence calls on the House and Senate Judiciary Committees to immediately pass the comprehensive package of gun reform bills currently before them out of committee for a vote on the floor where they enjoy majority support in both the House and Senate.

In less than 48 Hours in Providence and Pawtucket 12 people were shot and two left dead. Thursday’s horrific mass shooting was the largest in recent Providence history, and police believe up to five semiautomatic handguns were involved. One of the weapons police seized this weekend was a Springfield Armory XD40 semiautomatic pistol containing one live cartridge in the chamber and eleven live cartridges in the magazine.

See also: RI elected officials pledge action on gun violence

Police will continue to seize weapons but unfortunately, more guns will make their way onto the streets in large part because state legislators have refused to take steps that would stem the tide of deadly weapons into our cities. The semi-automatic weapons with high-capacity magazines that are currently wreaking havoc on our neighborhoods are still available for easy, legal purchase in Rhode Island despite being prohibited in our neighboring states of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York.

Every illegal gun used in a crime started as a lawful purchase. These weapons find their way into the hands of individuals who are prohibited from carrying them through straw purchases and thefts. In just one trafficking case last year, 89 legally purchased firearms were re-sold illegally to individuals who are prohibited from purchasing firearms by virtue of previous felony convictions.

This is why Attorney General Peter Neronha introduced a comprehensive package of bills that would address the gun violence problem in Rhode Island in its many forms. The package includes bills that would: limit magazine capacity to 10 rounds, regulate assault weapons, crack down on gun trafficking, require gun owners to safely store their weapons, prohibit concealed carry in K-12 schools, and reform and streamline the state’s permitting process. Taken together, these bills will reduce gun violence in Rhode Island and save lives, and yet some of these bills have been stuck in committee for the past 8 years. It’s past time for the state’s legislature to take decisive action to stem the tide of gun violence in Rhode Island.

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