The state of Rhode Island has a surprising amount of gun control. While its tiny size makes it easier to lose it in the shuffle of states like New York and California, it has every bit as much gun control as other anti-gun states.
It also, like so many other places, is having an issue with violent crime.
However, it seems the people at the Boston Globe have questions about whether gun control is the answer to gun violence in the state.
Around 6:45 p.m. Thursday, four men in a four-door silver Dodge Ram with Tennessee plates slowly drove into the city’s Washington Park neighborhood and stopped outside 87 Carolina Ave. They jumped out with guns drawn and started shooting at a group of people on the porch, firing off more than 40 rounds of bullets. Eight people were injured by gun fire, and one person was injured by “something else.” The victims ranged in age from 19 to 25 years old.
There have been three other shootings in Providence and Pawtucket since then. All three victims — age 25, 20 and 19 — have died.
Four shootings in four days have rattled Rhode Island. Police have seized twice as many illegal firearms so far this week as they did last year.
On Monday morning, Rhode Island’s US Congressional delegation joined Governor Dan McKee, Attorney General Peter Neronha, Providence Mayor Jorge O. Elorza, Nonviolence Institute Executive Director Cedric Huntley, and Moms Demand Action activist Diana Garlington at the Nonviolence Institute’s headquarters.
There, Huntley said the last several days have “just not been normal.”
“We’ve been working around the clock to help those victims, those families that have been hurt by violence,” said Huntley. “There’s no words for what we see.”
Whitehouse said he is co-sponsoring 14 different measures related to gun violence in Congress, but that they “aren’t going anywhere” because of the lobbying pressures by the National Rifle Association. He said while guns have “always been in Rhode Island,” the number of guns is increasing.
Huntley told a Globe reporter that passing gun control is “only a piece” of addressing the systemic issues many in Providence, and other parts of Rhode Island, currently face. He said the state needs to address education reform, specifically in Providence, and offer nonviolence and preventative training to all, not just those who are already doing the work.
The problem, though, is that Rhode Island has gun control. Plenty of it.
There’s a requirement for a permit to buy a pistol and there are universal background checks, both things that gun control activists claim are essentially in reducing so-called gun crime. And yet, it hasn’t…so some people seem to think the answer is still more gun control?
Now, I disagree with Huntley about gun control being a “piece” of anything, but I do like that he’s looking at other things. Frankly, those will yield better results than any gun control measure ever would. After all, pass a law banning or restricting something, you create a market for those goods to be sold illegally.
On the other hand, if you address the systemic issues that lead people down a path where violent crime becomes a way of life and prevent that from happening, you don’t need to ban anything.
Law-abiding people aren’t going to stop being law-abiding just because they have access to firearms. You can give a law-abiding citizen a rocket launcher and they’re not going to hurt a soul. The trick is to make more people law-abiding citizens.
I think Huntley sees that, at least in part. Maybe.
What we need to see is that this becomes the first stop in addressing violent crime, not a sideshow to the gun control so many people are convinced is the answer.