Rhode Island Considers Still More Gun Control

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

When you talk about the states with the most gun control in the nation, you tend to talk about states like New York, Massachusetts, California, and New Jersey.

However, there’s a state that most people miss that truly needs to be part of that conversation, and that’s Rhode Island. After all, they make Illinois look downright free when it comes to gun rights.

What’s worse, though, is that they considering still more.

They each had their own studies, their own interpretations of data, their own passionate opinions on what, if anything, could be done to prevent gun violence.

But what none of the hundreds of politicians, public officials, and advocates had during the hours of testimony given Monday before the Senate Judiciary Committee was anything they could agree on.

Gun advocates said the criminals were the problem, not the firearms, and any attempt to pass legislation to restrict access to firearms was an infringement on the Second Amendment. Gun-safety supporters talked about the mass shootings across the country, suicides, homicides, and the need to prevent them from happening in Rhode Island.

In many ways, the scene was the same when people testified on similar gun legislation before the House Judiciary Committee a little over three weeks ago.

But since the House hearing on March 19, there have been 43 mass shootings across the United States, killing 57 people, according to the Gun Violence Archive. Wakefield resident Jean Bowen, a volunteer with Safer Communities for Justice, wrote to the committee that her 80-year-old cousin had been buying groceries at the King Soopers in Boulder, Colorado, and fled when a gunman opened fire there, killing 10 people.

And here’s the problem with using the Gun Violence Archive. We all know there haven’t been any 43 mass shootings in the last month, but the activists who run the archive use the broadest definition they can possibly imagine so that even gang shootouts count as “mass shootings,” thus inflating the numbers.

Anyway, let’s get to the anti-gun measures being considered:

The proposed gun-safety legislation included banning assault rifles and high-capacity magazines, barring open carry of long guns except while hunting, prohibiting straw purchases, and making it a felony not to safely store guns.

Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio is also backing a bill to ban carrying concealed guns on school grounds, though he has not said whether he will support the rest of the gun legislation.

Honestly, I’m surprised Rhode Island doesn’t already have an assault weapon ban that includes magazine restrictions. However, it should be noted just how rarely those are used in crimes. Sure, standard-capacity magazines are often present in crimes, but they rarely make any difference in the criminal act.

Plus, you know, reloading is a thing.

Barring the open carry of long guns is nothing but a reaction to armed protests last year, and while I think they’re bad ideas in so many cases, those protests didn’t result in much of anything. Of course, this is also a reaction to Kyle Rittenhouse, but people tend to forget that Rittenhouse was attacked and responded to that attack.

Straw purchases are already illegal, though I suspect a state law is being considered so area law enforcement can respond to attempted straw purchases since the feds aren’t doing jack about them.

Then, of course, we have mandatory storage laws.

So much stupid in that one.

See, the problem with mandating people store firearms “safely” is that a firearm that’s locked away is a firearm someone can’t get to in the case of an emergency. It’s a one-size-fits-all law in a world where one size never fits everyone. Then making it a felony just compounds the stupid.

But this is Rhode Island. Don’t be surprised to see all of these pass.

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