A marathon gun bill hearing is on tap for next Tuesday night in Providence, and NRA and local pro-Second Amendment groups are calling for all-hands-on-deck. April 24 will be a busy day with 19 gun bills making the agenda for what figures to be an all-night affair at the Statehouse. Gun owners have had a strong presence at the Capitol this session, and it’s important that we continue to come out in force.
There are a couple pro-gun bills, however, the vast majority of legislation to be considered is anti-gun. There are several variations of magazine restrictions and bills to raise the purchase age on long guns from 18 to 21. Some of the anti-gun bills include:
- H.7591 by Rep. Katherine Kazarian would provide that only law enforcement be able to carry firearms on school grounds. Current law allows CCW holders to carry, and there have been no documented cases indicating a problem with the law as it currently exists. This is simply an attempt to create another failed “safe zone” and does nothing to make schools safer.
- H.7598 by Rep. Grace Diaz criminalizes possession of firearms by youth. This bill has been introduced for over a dozen years. While purporting to address gang violence, the bill does little more than put young hunters and competitive and recreational shooters in jeopardy of prosecution.
- H.7645 by Rep. Aaron Regenberg criminalizes the importation, possession, purchase, sale or transfer of magazines holding more than 10 rounds. Magazine bans do not work because criminals do not follow them. This legislation simply puts law-abiding gun owners at a disadvantage in self-defense situations. This bill would turn thousands of lawful citizens into criminals overnight.
- H.7766 by Rep. Jason Knight restricts magazines holding more than 10 rounds and exempts current ownership.
- H.7713 by Rep. Ken Marshall raises the legal age to purchase rifles and shotguns from 18 to 21. This bill deprives legal adults of the constitutional right to bear arms. This legislation is outright offensive and demeaning to Rhode Island’s young adults who are otherwise allowed to vote, join the military, and exercise every other constitutionally guaranteed right.
- H.7862 and H.7863 by Rep. James McLaughlin also raises the age, but it “grandfathers” current ownership and provides an exemption for law enforcement and military.
- H.8024 by Rep. Grace Diaz raises the age to 21 and requires safety training for the purchase of rifles and shotguns.
- H.7762 by Rep. Marcia Ranglin-Vassell repeals preemption. This dangerous bill would allow local jurisdictions to pass their own gun control laws despite state law. Forty-nine states have some form of pre-emption, and this is just a backdoor attempt to create a confusing patchwork of gun control laws from town to town.
The agenda also contains a couple pro-gun bills:
- H.7112 by Rep. Ramon Perez would expand concealed carry reciprocity to states which recognize Rhode Island.
- H.7854 by Rep. Robert Phillips establishes a program for the training and assignment of school resource officers to middle and high schools.
For a complete listing of the agenda, please visit click here.
Please plan to come down to the Statehouse and wear yellow in solidarity with fellow Ocean State NRA members and gun owners. We know that the anti-gun groups will push for a bigger attendance after the massive gun owner turnout a month ago. The hearing will take place upon rise of the House (roughly 4 p.m.) in Room 101 of the Statehouse. We are expecting a large crowd so we advise arriving earlier if you can. We recognize that people have busy lives with work and family, and we wouldn’t be putting out the call if it weren’t important. It is critical this year that we push back on these infringements.
It is also important that you contact members of the House Judiciary Committee and respectfully request members to oppose any new gun control.