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Rhode Island: Marathon Gun Control Hearing Goes into the Early Morning Hours

Friday, May 3, 2013

On Wednesday night, gun owners turned out at the Statehouse in Providence in a massive showing of opposition to the sweeping gun control package being championed by Governor Lincoln Chaffee (I), Attorney General Peter Kilmartin (D) and a handful of state lawmakers.  The House Judiciary Committee hearing lasted into the early morning hours Thursday.  This committee affirmed that all of the gun bills under consideration will be “held for further study,” which means the committee did not pass the bills, but reserves the right to revisit this legislation anytime during the session.

It is critical that you continue to contact your state Representative and Senator and respectfully urge them to OPPOSE anti-gun legislation which would damage the rights of Rhode Islanders to defend themselves.  Also, please contact Attorney General Kilmartin and voice opposition to his legislation that attacks concealed carry and targets youth hunters and recreational shooters for prosecution.

As previously reported here, these anti-gun bills would ban commonly owned semi-automatic rifles and standard capacity magazines that hold more than ten rounds, thereby removing Rhode Islanders’ ability to defend themselves using the most effective means available.  Also heard was legislation that requires all concealed carry licenses to be issued by the Attorney General.  This change would cause Rhode Island to become a “May-issue” state instead of a “Shall-issue” state further damaging the right to self-defense of law-abiding citizens.

Bills heard on Wednesday included:

House Bill 5576, sponsored by state Representative Maria Cimini (D-7), possession of a firearm by a minor unlawful.  Youth firearms possession is already addressed in both state and federal law, making this bill completely unnecessary.  This legislation would do nothing except place honest law-abiding youth who enjoy hunting and the shooting sports in jeopardy of prosecution.  While this bill is designed to combat gang violence and has some exceptions, it has glaring problems.  Similar legislation has annually been opposed and defeated in the past, and this version is just as bad as in previous years.

House Bill 5990, sponsored by state Representative Joseph Almeida (D-12), imposes restrictions on the manufacture, transfer and possession of certain semi-automatic “assault weapons” and bans magazines containing more than ten rounds.

House Bill 5993, sponsored by state Representative Larry Valencia (D-39), abolishes all “shall issue” carry permits issued by local law enforcement and grants the Attorney General sole issuing authority.  The Attorney General permits would be “may issue,” and this represents a serious attack on Rhode Island’s concealed carry law, moving the state to an exclusive “may issue” state.

House Bill 5994, sponsored by state Representative Gregg Amore (D-65), expands firearm possession disqualifiers to include misdemeanor offenses, whereas current law requires a felony conviction.  It also removes the two-year window in current law which provides for rights restoration.  This draconian bill is excessive and should be rejected.

House Bill 5208, sponsored by state Representative Grace Diaz (D-11), is similar to HB 5576 (listed above) and has been annually rejected.  This bill should be opposed for the reasons previously detailed.

House Bill 5573, sponsored by state Representative Linda Finn (D-72), requires gun owners to register ALL of their firearms.  Gun owners would be required to pay $100 per gun to register their firearms.  This unconstitutional bill is an outright attack on gun ownership.

Contact your state Representative and Senator now!  Respectfully urge them to OPPOSE all anti-gun legislation that damages Rhode Islanders’ ability to defend themselves effectively.  Also contact Attorney General Kilmartin and voice your opposition to his legislation that attacks concealed carry, and targets youth hunters and recreational shooters for prosecution.

Contact information for your legislators can be found here.

Contact information for Attorney General Kilmartin can be found here.

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