(PROVIDENCE, R.I.) Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare says the state can reduce gun-related violence by passing more stringent laws. Pare says most of the guns used for crime are illegally owned.
Pare says tougher penalties for illegal gun possession helped to dramatically reduce gun-related crime in New York City. He says more stringent punishments could help to have the same effect in Rhode Island.
“What I’m talking about is you’re looking at jail time," he says. "Until we can create a culture that if you carry a gun in our nightclub – whether you use it or not, there’s a culture here that you’re looking at prison time on the state level.”
Pare says tougher laws are just one part of reducing gun violence. He says the NRA has stymied more stringent sanctions for illegal gun possession in Rhode Island. Pare thinks things could be different this year after more than 20 people were killed during a school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
In related news, Pare says city officials are trying to find the money to undo eight layoffs at a nonprofit that works to prevent violence.
Eight full-time workers and three part-timers were laid off last month at the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence. The cuts came on the same day as the Newtown school massacre.
Pare says Mayor Angel Taveras is among those working for make up for a loss in the nonviolence institute’s state and federal grants.
“We’re going to work as a city to try to find some funding, both internally and externally, asking our community and our corporate sponsors to help us support a program that we think is very effective,” Pare says.
Due to the loss of funding, the nonviolence institute’s remaining workers have taken pay cuts ranging from 20 to 40 percent.
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