Last week, the Rhode Island General Assembly adjourned its 2013 legislative session and gun owners emerged victorious as several anti-Second Amendment bills died when the clock expired. Since Governor Lincoln Chafee (D) and Attorney General Peter Kilmartin (D) unveiled a broad package of anti-gun bills in early April, your NRA worked hard to oppose these historic assaults on your Right to Keep and Bear Arms and gun owners filled committee hearings on several occasions to stand united against these unconstitutional restrictions.
Rhode Island already has some of the most restrictive gun control laws in the country. However, this did not stop anti-gun state politicians from introducing a barrage of legislation targeting responsible and law-abiding gun owners that included, but was not limited to: registration and a $100-per-gun tax, a ban on semi-automatic firearms, standard capacity magazine restrictions, youth firearm restrictions and an attack on Rhode Island’s “shall issue” carry law.
Only three gun-related bills passed, and they include a study and two bills that already mirror current state and federal law. The more drastic and dangerous bills in the package were all held in committee. The NRA also played a pivotal role in offering amendments to further protect lawful gun owners. Those amendments were accepted in the final versions of the following bills, and they have been sent to the Governor for his signature.
Senate Bill 862 / House Bill 5992 by state Senators Catherine Cool Rumsey (D-34), Gayle Goldin (D-3), William Walaska (D-30), Stephen Archambault (D-22), and Frank Lombardi (D-26) along with state Representatives Deborah Ruggiero (D-74), Raymond Gallison Jr. (D-69), Peter Martin (D-75), Elaine Coderre (D-60), and Joseph McNamara (D-16) would create a mental health task force. Senate Bill 862 was amended to include three members from the firearms community, and it was modified with a sunset date so that the task force would not continue indefinitely. They now have one year to wrap things up and then dissolve.
Senate Bill 860 / House Bill 5991 by state Senators Adam Satchell (D-9), Stephen Archambault (D-22), Leonidas Raptakis (D-33), Frank Lombardi (D-26), and Frank Lombardo (D-25) along with state Representatives Marvin Abney (D-73), Christopher Blazejewski (D-2), Frank Ferri (D-22), Eileen Naughton (D-21), and Elaine Coderre (D-60) would increase the penalties for carrying a stolen firearm while committing a crime of violence.
Senate Bill 455 by state Senators Gayle Goldin (D-3), William Conley (D-18), Maryellen Goodwin (D-1), Adam Satchell (D-9) and Erin Lynch (D-31) would make it illegal to possess a firearm with obliterated serial numbers. This is already against federal law.
Thank you to all Rhode Island NRA members who attended legislative committee hearings and contacted state lawmakers to oppose anti-gun legislation this session. Please continue to follow NRA-ILA alerts for more information when it becomes available.