On the first anniversary of the tragic mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, Governor Gina Raimondo and Attorney General Peter Neronha introduced a legislative package of critical gun safety reforms that would ban assault weapons, ban high-capacity magazines and prohibit concealed-carry weapons on school grounds. The pair was joined by members of the Governor’s Gun Safety Working Group, advocates, legislators, community leaders, parents and students as they announced the introduction of the legislation in the Governor’s State Room on Thursday.
“It is unacceptable that our children are growing up in a country where they have to worry about gun violence. This is one of the most disturbing and preventable public health crises of this generation, and we owe it to our children to take action,” said Governor Raimondo. “We can’t sit back and deny our children the right to safe schools and safe communities. We know that these reforms will save lives.”
“There is no one measure, or even set of measures, that will solve the gun violence problem facing this country,” said Attorney General Neronha. “But there are some things we can do to make progress, while respecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners. The legislation introduced today is an important step forward — a common sense approach that will make our communities safer.”
The legislative package introduced Thursday is the direct result of the efforts of the Governor’s Gun Safety Working Group, which issued a report last year calling for comprehensive reforms to reduce gun violence. The Gun Safety Working Group was comprised of 43 members representing public health, behavioral health, federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, and defense attorneys, educators and school administers, veterans, academics, representatives of nonprofit organization and other members of the community. The group was chaired by Narragansett Town Manager James Manni, Raimondo’s nominee to head the Rhode Island State Police, and Megan Ranney, M.D., an emergency medicine physician affiliated with Rhode Island Hospital and an associate professor at Alpert Medical School of Brown University.
In February, Governor Raimondo become the first governor in America following the shooting in Parkland to take executive action establishing a statewide red flag policy to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. The executive order also called for the creation of the Gun Safety Working Group to develop recommendations for addressing gun violence.
Since she’s been in office, Governor Raimondo has consistently taken action to prevent gun violence. She’s worked with Moms Demand, the Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence and other community leaders to pass legislation that takes guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. Last year she signed legislation creating a permanent Red Flag law in Rhode Island and banning bump stocks.
Attorney General Neronha has a long history of supporting gun safety measures. That support stems from his experience as a state and federal prosecutor, and later as United States Attorney, when he saw the havoc caused by gun violence in urban neighborhoods and beyond, and accordingly prioritized efforts to prosecute firearms trafficking; violent felons in possession of firearms; and unlicensed manufacturing of firearms, including automatic and semi-automatic weapons.