Rep. Justine Caldwell (D-Dist. 30, East Greenwich, West Greenwich) on Tuesday introduced a package of gun safety measures in an effort to curb gun violence in Rhode Island. The bills, proposed by Gov. Gina Raimondo’s Gun Safety Working Group and by Attorney General Peter Neronha, would ban the sale and possession of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and impose a penalty for the unsafe storage of firearms.
“Our state, and our country, are suffering a crisis of gun violence. I believe in making evidence-based policy, and researchers have consistently found that America’s alarming rate of gun violence is caused by easy access to guns. My bills seek to both strongly regulate the most dangerous weapons of war and to ensure gun owners prevent others from accessing their guns. There is no one cause to our gun violence epidemic, and no one solution, but each of these bills would be an important step toward saving lives. I promised the voters of my district I would fight for common-sense gun laws, and I intend to keep my promise,” said Representative Caldwell.
The assault weapons ban (2019-H 5741), formally called the “Rhode Island Assault Weapons Ban Act of 2019,” would bar the sale and possession of assault weapons. It contains exceptions for law enforcement and military personnel, and would allow current assault weapons owners who pass a background check to keep the weapons they currently own.
The high-capacity magazines ban (2019-H 5739), or “Rhode Island Large Capacity Feeding Device Ban Act of 2019,” would ban the sale and possession of devices capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition.
The safe-storage bill (2019-H 5740) would require that weapons not in use be stored in a locked container, or be otherwise rendered inoperable by anyone other than the owner via a tamper-resistant mechanical lock or safety device.
“I’m especially proud that one of my constituents, Dr. Megan Ranney, MD MPH, was a co-chair of the Governor’s Gun Safety Working Group and helped to develop and vet these proposals. As a former community organizer, I know that we representatives do our best work when we draw on the energy and expertise of members of the public in order to make good policy. I intend to continue to draw on experts like Dr. Ranney and the community in general as I work to build community and legislative support for these proposals,” added Representative Caldwell.