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Rhode Island: Wave of Gun Legislation Rolls Into the Ocean State

Monday, April 25, 2016

Rhode Island:  Wave of Gun Legislation Rolls Into the Ocean State

Tomorrow, April 26, the Senate Judiciary Committee will meet to consider a full agenda including over a dozen gun bills.  Last month, the House had their version of “gun day,” and most of those bills were “held for further study.”  This week the Senate will hear testimony on the Senate companion bills.  Please contact members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and respectfully ask them to oppose any new gun control.   Please also urge them to support pro-gun Senate Bill 2416.   

Last month, gun owners showed up in force to testify at the Statehouse against the bills. It is imperative that our members repeat that turnout to defeat these misguided bills.  The agenda will include both anti-gun bills and pro-gun legislation.

Some of the more critical bills include:

Senate Bill 2835, sponsored by state Senators Goldin, Coyne, Miller, Goodwin and Nesselbush would “criminalize the manufacture, import, possession, purchase, sale or transfer of any ammunition feeding device capable of accepting more than 10 rounds known as high capacity magazines.”  To the contrary, there is zero evidence that standard issue magazine bans are effective.  These types of bans apply exclusively to law-abiding gun owners and do nothing but give criminals an advantage in self-defense situations.  This is the primary reason law enforcement is not forced to use 10-round magazines.  In addition, the bill will have a dire economic impact in the state as it bans “manufacture,” and these magazines and/or their components are produced in Rhode Island.

Senate Bill 2761, sponsored by state Senator Metts would turn schools into “criminal protection zones” by restricting carry rights that currently exist under state law.   This law has existed for years with no demonstrated problems in Rhode Island.  Several local governments across the state have already rejected resolutions that call on the Legislature to enact this legislation.

Senate Bill 2645, also sponsored by state Senator Metts has been introduced in the Legislature for over a decade and has failed to advance.  Undeterred, anti-gun lawmakers have once again reintroduced the bill to restrict possession of firearms by youth.  While this bill attempts to go after gang members, it does nothing but put law-abiding youth sport shooters and hunters in jeopardy of prosecution.  Rather than continue to pursue this ill-conceived proposal, prosecutors should focus on enforcing the scores of gun laws which are already on the books.

There are also a handful of domestic violence bills which are boilerplates being pushed across the country by anti-gun groups funded by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.  These bills include Senate Bill 2490, Senate Bill 2491, Senate Bill 2492, Senate Bill 2517, Senate Bill 2730 and Senate Bill 2767.  First, let us be absolutely clear on one point.  NRA supports strong penalties for convicted violent domestic abusers, however, these bills go far beyond that and will only result in law-abiding gun owners being ensnared.  These bills are unnecessary as a plethora of state and federal laws already prevent domestic abusers from purchasing and possessing firearms.  Bills such as Senate Bill 2730 go so far as to include misdemeanor convictions.  These bills force the surrender of firearms with few, if any, guarantees of rights restoration in cases of false accusations or exonerations.  Absent strong due process protections, these bills should be rejected. 

In addition to the anti-gun bills listed above and others, there is pro-gun legislation which NRA is working to pass.  Senate Bill 2416, sponsored by state Senators Pagliarni, Lombardo, Morgan, Kettle and Lombardi would expand reciprocity to include Massachusetts, Connecticut and Utah permits.

Please attend this hearing and voice your opposition to these misguided bills and SUPPORT SB 2416.  Please click the “Take Action” button above to contact members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and respectfully ask them to oppose any new gun control.   It’s also important that you ask them to support Senate Bill 2416.   

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