Rhode Island Gun Control Bills One Step Closer to Passage

The state of Rhode Island might not be a very large state by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s still a state. That means it gets to make its own laws, even if those laws are completely stupid. For example, its looking at passing one that, while not unique, will accomplish absolutely nothing.


It seems the state is one step closer to passing some gun control bills.

Bills banning rapid-fire bump stocks and giving police the power to disarm people who show “red flag” signs of potential violence are speeding toward becoming law after passing the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.

The legislation, coming in response to gun massacres in Las Vegas and Parkland, Florida, moved quickly and unanimously through the committee Thursday afternoon after drawing hours of impassioned, late-night testimony from opposing gun-rights and gun-control advocates earlier this spring.

The Senate’s red-flag language now mirrors what the House passed more than a month ago, including amendments to the original legislation that limit the ability to file red-flag orders to police, raise the burden of proof to keep someone’s guns longer than a year and give the subject the right to appeal to get their firearms back.

The full Senate is expected to take the bill up next week. Gov. Gina Raimondo has said she supports it.

“It’s pretty fantastic. It means in the wake of Parkland our General Assembly has really stepped up to the responsibility to pass commonsense gun laws to protect Rhode Islanders,” said Jennifer Boylan, volunteer legislative leader for the Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense on America, which had rallied support for the bills.

After more than a thousand gun-rights supporters packed the State House at raucous rallies earlier in the year, only a handful were on hand for the committee vote.

The red flag bill “is a little bit better than it was before,” said Frank Saccoccio, president of the Rhode Island Second Amendment Coalition, which still opposes the bill. “We oppose the bill because we feel it does not have enough safeguards in it yet. Some of the [red flag] triggering events are — you go to buy a firearm or you go to buy a second firearm. People do that all the time. Why would that trigger a red flag?”


Yep. There’s a lot of dumb here.

First, let’s address bump stock bans. I’ve addressed this before, but the anti-gun forces aren’t remotely interested in listening, apparently. You see, banning bump stocks won’t keep anyone safer. After all, the same kind of fire can be replicated with a rubber band or a belt loop. Since banning those items isn’t about to happen in the near future, bump fire will still be around.

In other words, this is a law that will do absolutely nothing, especially in light of how many years bump stocks have been available and how many crimes have been committed with them. (One, to be exact.)

As for “red flag” orders, well…if Mr. Saccoccio is right and buying a second firearm is enough to justify a red flag, we have a problem. A big one.

While crazed killers may well buy a second firearm, so do a whole lot of other people who have no intention of hurting anyone. That behavior shouldn’t be sufficient to trigger anything…except, maybe, a furious spouse. That’s it.

One bit of good news is that the bill comes with a provision where those who give false information on a red flag case can be fined up to $5,000 for their behavior. This is good because it’s at least something that will make people think twice about trying to play the system. It’s no nearly enough, in my mind, but at least it’s something.


If you’re a Rhode Island resident, though, you may want to make some phone calls.

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