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Rhode Island: Pair of Anti-Gun Bills to be Heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee Tomorrow

Monday, May 14, 2012

Senate Bill 2573, sponsored by state Senators Harold Metts (D-6), Rhoda Perry (D-3), Juan Pichardo (D-2), Paul Jabour (D-5) and Elizabeth Crowley (D-16), is a dramatic departure from current law and completely overturns state pre-emption of firearms.  This bill would allow anti-gun localities to impose whatever gun control measures they desire, and strip the state of its ability to regulate firearms.  This dangerous and sweeping bill needs to be defeated.

Senate Bill 2582, sponsored by state Senators Paul Jabour, Juan Pichardo, Harold Metts, Maryellen Goodwin (D-1) and Elizabeth Crowley, could threaten youth shooters and hunters with criminal prosecution.  S.2582 is the Senate version of H.7605 and H.7881, which have already been heard in the House Judiciary Committee.  Last week, the House Judiciary Committee voted to hold H.7881 for further consideration.  Advertised as anti-crime/anti-gang bills, these bills would have serious implications for youth shooters. 

While S.2582 appears to make only a slight change in current law, it could have grave ramifications for those prosecuted under it.  Currently, a youth is not in violation unless he possessed AND USED a firearm. If these bills are enacted into law, a minor could be prosecuted for possession of a firearm if borrowing a parent’s vehicle and pulled over with a gun in that vehicle.  The law does not distinguish actual intent over legitimate use. S.2582 attempts to create exceptions, but those narrow exceptions would leave youth shooters vulnerable to prosecution.

The “use” of a firearm under current law clearly signals intent, but by removing it, minors can be unjustly prosecuted. S.2582 is a perfect example of an anti-gun bill that would do nothing to prevent crime and only put another overbroad and unnecessary law on the books.  Similar legislation has been annually introduced and defeated in the Rhode Island General Assembly for several years, but proponents are pushing hard to adopt these bills this session.

Please contact members of the Senate Judiciary Committee IMMEDIATELY and respectfully ask them to oppose S.2573 and S.2582.  Contact information for committee members is provided below.

Senate Judiciary Committee

Senator Michael J. McCaffrey (D-29), Chairman
(401) 739-7576

Senator Paul V. Jabour (D-5), Vice Chairman
(401) 276-5594

Senator Erin P. Lynch (D-31), Secretary
(401) 739-8500

Senator Maryellen Goodwin (D-1)
(401) 272-3102

Senator Dawson Tucker Hodgson (R-35)
(401) 203-3256

Senator Harold M. Metts (D-6)
(401) 272-0112

Senator Donna M. Nesselbush (D-15)
(401) 728-3244

Senator Rhoda E. Perry (D-3)
(401) 751-7165

Senator Glenford J. Shibley (R-33)
(401) 222-2708

Senator William A. Walaska (D-30)
(401) 737-1065



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