Rhode Island is one of those states much of the rest of the country forgets about a lot of the time. One of the smallest states, it lacks the political muscle of some of the larger states in the Northeast. Yet, it’s also one of the least gun-friendly states in the nation, with regulations that rival places like California, Massachusetts, and New Jersey.
Unfortunately, it looks like the state is about to get a lot less gun-friendly, too.
The General Assembly today approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Cynthia A. Coyne and Rep. Patricia A. Serpa to prohibit the manufacturing, transfer, purchase or possessing of any plastic, fiberglass or 3-D printed gun, as well as “ghost guns,” untraceable guns and undetectable guns.
The legislation, which now heads to the governor’s desk, is meant to help eliminate weapons that skirt protect public safety protections. Gov. Gina M. Raimondo has publicly indicated her intent to sign it into law.
“Ghost guns, 3-D printed guns and undetectable plastic guns can easily facilitate criminal activity because they totally bypass the safeguards that protect the public. Our state laws should be very clear that possessing, creating or selling them is a criminal act, and we should be doing everything we can to keep these dangerous weapons from proliferating here,” said Senator Coyne (D-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence).
Said Representative Serpa (D-Dist. 27, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick), “While I am a strong proponent of people’s right to bear arms, these devices simply lack the safety, reliability and accountability of conventional firearms and have become a menace to society.”
Except, we have no evidence that any of those claims are true. None at all.
Instead, we have vague proclamations about how there’s a “growing” number of so-called “ghost guns” being used by criminals, but no hard numbers with which we can judge the risk ourselves. Now, we see claims about safety and reliability, as if reliability has ever been any anti-gun legislator’s concern when it comes to firearms, all in an effort for Serpa to pretend she actually respects civil liberties.
As bad as the ghost gun ban was, though, it could have been worse.
Agreements on the wording were reached just before the break. An eleventh-hour bid by Rep. Anastasia Williams to name the hometown police chief bill after all the victims in a Westerly shooting spree requires a return trip to the Senate.
The hometown police-chief bill was introduced after a Westerly man, Joseph Giachello, bought a gun from a firearms dealer in Richmond and on Dec. 19 used it to fatally shoot a manager and wound two other women at his housing complex before turning the gun he bought days earlier on himself.
Basically, the bill would require the blessing of one’s hometown police chief if they were to try and purchase a firearm in a different town in the state. Honestly, the fact that this is even being considered should tell you all you need to know about how your rights are viewed in Rhode Island.
Luckily, because it had to go back to the Senate, that buys Rhode Islanders a bit more time before this particular bit of stupidity can take hold. The question is, is there a real shot of stopping it? Based on what I’ve seen, probably not.