Republican lawmakers are taking aim at a package of gun control bills proposed Tuesday by Governor Lincoln Chafee and legislative leaders.
Among other things, the new laws would ban the sale of semi-automatic assault weapons and high capacity magazines. State Representative Doreen Costa of North Kingstown questions the constitutionality of the bills.
A nine-point plan intended to reduce gun-related violence and reduce the threat of a school shooting in Rhode Island was unveiled by leading elected and public-safety officials at the Statehouse Tuesday afternoon. Legislative leaders repeatedly called the proposal a starting point for discussion, raising questions about what exactly will meet with General Assembly muster before the legislature ends it session in June.
With state officials due to release their proposal Tuesday for curbing gun violence, Republican House lawmakers are inviting gun makers to relocate to Rhode Island in response to changes in Connecticut and Maryland. A legislative news release says the changes render those two states as "hostile territory":
There’s a lot of talk on Smith Hill this week about guns, including several new bills that aim to tighten gun ownership and possession laws. We sat down with Attorney General Peter Kilmartin to learn more about how his office is contributing to the gun conversation. One major issue is Rhode Island’s participation in the national gun background check databases.
Today on Smith Hill, a lobbyist with the National Rifle Association and a captain in the Rhode Island State Police are meeting with lawmakers for an informal session. They are coming at the request of Woonsocket Democrat Representative Lisa Badelli-Hunt. She says lawmakers need more information if they’re going to intelligently consider gun legislation this session.
Rhode Island Public Radio political analyst Scott MacKay joins afternoon host Dave Fallon to discuss the meeting and what it means for gun control measures in the state.
No word yet on how Rhode Island might address the growing debate about gun control and violence prevention. My colleague Ian Donnis and I have been covering the issue (see some related stories, below), and so far we know there's talk of proposing legislation (no details yet) and a vague working group of lawmakers and policymakers discussing the issues. Those issues probably include Rhode Island's participation in a national gun background check database and how to use mental health records when it comes to allowing firearms purchases.
US Attorney Peter Neronha is Rhode Island's top federal prosecutor. His office prosecutes about 40 or so gun-related cases each year, some of them with far stiffer sentences than state prosecutions. But Neronha says prosecutions are just one part of what it will take to reduce gun-related crime. He also questions the view among some in law enforcement that federal sentencing has a stronger deterrent effect in gun cases.