Rhode Island’s House of Representatives is planning to push through new gun control legislation today. The bills will outlaw magazines that contain any more than ten rounds, will ban the open carrying of loaded rifles or shotguns in public, and will increase the legal age necessary to buy guns and ammunition to 21. Melanie DaSilva reports for WPRI:
Lawmakers in Rhode Island are poised to vote on a handful of gun-related bills.
In the ongoing debate over gun control legislation, the House Judiciary Committee will be voting on three bills Thursday. It comes after two rallies last week on either side of the issue.
“When is enough, enough? when are we going to decide that mass shootings are not part of the fabric of our nation? The time to pass common-sense gun legislation is now,” Rep. Karen Alzate said during one rally.
The House will be voting on a bill that would ban high-capacity magazines that contain more than 10 rounds of ammunition, make it illegal to openly carry a loaded rifle or shotgun in public, and raise the age to buy a gun or ammunition from 18 to 21.
During a separate rally, Second Amendment supporters said these bills are not the answer. They told 12 News that school safety and access to mental health resources should be the priority.
“I think that if we start working on those types of programs, and more programs for kids, at a younger age, that instead of them growing up to have these types of social problems we could prevent these problems from evening happening. I think that would be a better investment for us,” Brenda Jacob, president of the Rhode Island Revolver and Rifle Association, said.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to take up the same bills next week.
The House and Senate have not scheduled a vote on a bill to ban assault-style weapons or a bill to strengthen safe firearm storage laws.
Last week, Rhode Island officials, including Gov. Dan McKee and Attorney General Peter Neronha joined local leaders and advocates outside the State House calling for passage of those five bills in response to the recent mass shootings across the country.
In response to the news of Thursday’s vote, McKee posted on Twitter that “it’s time for action. Pass these bills. I’m ready to sign.”
Action Line: Perhaps what’s most troublesome about this is that House Speaker Joe Shekarchi has, in the past, been a relative moderate on gun control. His encouragement of the Democratic caucus to pass these bills shows a change in his approach that could lead to even tighter regulations down the line. Stick with me.