Legislation Would Target Youth Shooters for Prosecution
A bill targeting youth possession of firearms that would have unintended consequences has been introduced again this year in the Rhode Island Legislature. Although designed to combat gang violence, this legislation -- introduced annually -- would put youth hunters and target shooters in jeopardy of prosecution. House Bill 5208 by state representatives Grace Diaz (D-11), Scott Slater (D-10), Edith Ajello (D-1), Maria Cimini (D-7) and Larry Valencia (D-39) would strike the words “and use” from state law, making it easier to prosecute youth who are in possession of firearms. Under current Rhode Island law, it is already illegal for minors to “possess and use” firearms. Current law provides a number of additional provisions to prosecute criminals, and this seemingly innocuous change to state law would do nothing but penalize honest kids. This proposed bill defines an adult as someone who is 21 years of age.
Despite having some narrowly defined exemptions, this is harmful and unnecessary legislation and it has failed to clear committee for the last several years. However, the City of Providence continues to push their one-size-fits-all approach on the rest of the state. There has been increased pressure to pass gun control in states across the country this year -- gun owners must be vigilant and make their voices heard before it is too late.
HB 5208 has been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee, but it has not been scheduled for a hearing yet. Please contact members of the House Judiciary Committee and respectfully ask them to oppose HB 5208. Please stay tuned to NRA-ILA alerts for further updates on this and other firearm-related legislation.
Members of the House Judiciary Committee:
Representative Edith H. Ajello
Representative Joseph S. Almeida
Representative Christopher R. Blazejewski
Representative Doreen Marie Costa
Representative Robert E. Craven, Sr.
Representative John J. DeSimone
Representative Donald J. Lally Jr.
Representative Charlene Lima
Representative Michael J. Marcello
Representative Peter F. Martin
Representative J. Patrick O'Neill
Representative K. Joseph Shekarchi
Representative Donna M. Walsh