The sun was rising on Federal Hill early last Saturday morning as the final gavels dropped in both the House and Senate. Lawmakers wrapped up their 2016 session, and for Ocean State gun owners, it was another successful year. Despite battling a couple dozen anti-gun bills which were introduced, and the marathon committee hearings during session, only one bill dealing with firearms emerged, and that legislation won’t impact law-abiding gun owners.
S.2492A/H.7283A requires those convicted of felony domestic violence to surrender their firearms. Those individuals are already prohibited persons, and it’s illegal for them to possess guns under current law. These people have been convicted of felonies. The more problematic bills that included misdemeanors and temporary restraining orders failed to pass because of the due process considerations and rights restoration concerns we highlighted. Despite being constantly attacked by well-funded anti-gun groups, your NRA and the Rhode Island Second Amendment Coalition worked gavel-to-gavel this session against determined anti-gun politicians and the groups supporting them.
Our state association, the Second Amendment Coalition, did an outstanding job organizing activists and blocking bills, in addition to working in partnership with NRA to advance pro-gun legislation. Faced with another barrage of anti-gun bills, we were forced to play defense, but this year was distinctly unique in that a pro-gun bill, H.7390A, passed the House. This bill would have created automatic renewals of carry permits and would have codified reforms making it easier to secure a permit. Although it easily passed the House, the Senate leader blocked the bill from coming up for a vote in the upper chamber. Far from being complacent, gun owners in Rhode Island will have to remain vigilant in 2017 as anti-gun groups have already pledged to return and continue their assault on the Second Amendment next January.
Thank you to all the NRA members and Second Amendment supporters who attended Statehouse hearings and communicated with their legislators about these important measures.