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Friday, June 3, 2022

State House rally calls for action on gun violence in Rhode Island

Nothing but crickets from local GOP legislators Flip Filippi, Elaine Morgan, Justin Price

By Uprise RI

Jennifer Boylan from Moms Demand Action

Ahead of a rally in front of the Rhode Island State House where over 200 people called for five gun violence prevention bills to be immediately brought to the floors of the Senate and House for a straight up or down vote, General Assembly leadership released a short statement. 

“We are committed to passing meaningful gun reform legislation this session,” said Senate President Dominick Ruggerio (Democrat, District 4, Providence) and Speaker of the House Joseph Shekarchi (Democrat, District 23, Warwick). “We have been working on this issue with the sponsors and committee chairs for several months.”

This message from leadership was not the promise those outside the State House were looking for. Being “committed” to “meaningful” gun “reform” legislation is not the same as bringing the five bills to the floor, and some State House insiders, speaking off the record, noted that there were ongoing negotiations to blunt the bills. 

For instance, H6614 / S2653, which would limit magazine capacity to ten rounds, is being negotiated to 15 rounds. In New England, every state but Vermont and Rhode Island limit magazine capacity to ten rounds. Vermont allows 15 round magazines.

Other bills are under similar review. and possible last minute modifications, but in the wake of the recent deadly attacks in Uvalde, Texas and Buffalo, New York, blunting the legislation, that in one form or another has been brought before the General Assembly since deadly shooting in Newtown, Connecticut ten years earlier, is a non starter.

“Ten years! It’s been ten years. That is long enough,” said Jennifer Boylan from Moms Demand Action. “No more studying, it is time to vote on all five gun bills. All the bills.”

“I have ten years of anger here,” continued Boylan. “I’ve been doing this for far too long.”

“We can no longer tolerate gun violence prevention bills being held for further study,” said Sydney Montstream-Quas, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence. “When they are held for further study, they’re being held for further violent trauma, held for further carnage, held for further murders, held for further suicides by gun, held for further funerals.”

The bills:

  • Limit Magazine Capacity to 10 Rounds H6614 / S2653
  • Regulate Assault Weapons H6615 / S2224
  • Prohibit Open Carry in Public H7358 / S2825
  • Raise the Age to 21 to Buy Long Guns and Ammo H7457 / S2637
  • Strengthen Safe Firearm Storage Laws H7300 / S2734

After the speaking portion of the program outside the State House, the crowd moved inside, where they engaged with legislators as the House and Senate ended their sessions in chamber and moved on to their committee hearings. 

Partner organizations in the Campaign for Gun Violence Prevention RI include:

Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, RI Chapter Everytown for Gun Safety Giffords Law Center Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence Nonviolence Institute Guns to Plowshares Thoughts, Prayers, Actions One Gun Gone RI Coalition Against Domestic Violence National Organization for Women, RI Chapter League of Women Voters of Rhode Island Planned Parenthood of Southern New England First Unitarian Church of Providence College Democrats of Rhode Island #300 Women RI American College of Physicians (RI ACP) Bally Humanufactured Bishops Against Gun Violence City Kitty Veterinary Care for Cats Community Care Alliance East Bay Citizens for Peace Members of The Faculty of the School of Social Work at Rhode Island College NAACP, Providence National Association of Social Workers- RI Chapter National Council of Jewish Women, Rhode Island Newtown Action Alliance Pawtucket Advocates for Racial and Social Justice Providence Community Health Center RI Council of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry RI Medical Society RI State Council of Churches Sakonnet Peace Alliance States United to Prevent Gun Violence Stop Handgun Violence The Esscence T. Christal Memorial Foundation The Womxn Project Providence Presbyterian Church RI Democratic Women’s Caucus The RI Black Business Association