Supporters claim that the three new gun laws in Rhode Island are designed to curb gun violence, while detractors argue that the legislation is a violation of the rights of gun owners.
A measure limiting magazine capacity to 10 rounds was adopted by lawmakers on a 43-26 majority. Advocates of the bill argue that high-capacity magazines allow mass shootings like the one that killed 21 people in Uvalde, Texas. Opponents said that the legislation would convert legitimate owners of the magazines into criminals.
“Hundreds of thousands of these periodicals have already been distributed around the state. They will be present. The only way a large capacity magazine prohibition will be enforced is if someone is charged with another violation, according to state police. So, once again, they’re not going to walk into a residence in Burrillville and knock on the door, asking the owner to open their safe and let it be checked for large-capacity magazines “Rep. David Place, R-Burrillville, confirmed the report to NBC 10 News.
During almost four hours of discussion, several suggested modifications, including a grandfather provision and compensating owners of high-capacity magazines, were rejected.
“By the way, the criminals congratulated you for passing this measure today. They recognize that folks who want to legitimately defend themselves will have less firepower than they have “said Cranston Deputy Speaker Charlene Lima.
She was applauded by gun rights activists, who were visible in the gallery wearing yellow shirts.
House Speaker Joe Shekarchi issued a warning.
“I appreciate the fervor in this argument, and I appreciate everyone’s ability to attend in person. However, we must preserve decorum “Shekarchi spoke briefly before being stopped by a heckler. “If the gallery is not kept in order, I will clear it and shut it so that everyone may see it on TV. If you want to put me to the test, I’ll clean out the gallery right now.”
Prior to the start of the discussion, state Attorney General Peter Neronha encouraged legislators not to include a grandfather provision or exception for existing owners of high-capacity magazines.
“Let me be clear: the availability of high-capacity magazines in Rhode Island must be reduced. The insertion of a grandfather provision would make this measure illegal and virtually worthless, making it unnecessary to protect law-abiding Rhode Island gun, owners. As stated, I fully endorse this measure and encourage its approval “Neronha wrote to House Judiciary Chairman Robert Craven.
The measure would provide owners of high-capacity magazines with three options for complying with the legislation within six months after its passage. They may permanently change the device, turn it into their local police department or the state police, or transfer or sell it to a federally recognized dealer or a person who is legally allowed to own or possess it.
Current and former law enforcement officers, as well as active-duty military or National Guard personnel, are exempt from the measure.
After that, lawmakers voted 52-16 to pass legislation raising the age of gun and ammunition purchases from 18 to 21.
In Rhode Island, it is already illegal for anybody under the age of 21 to purchase a weapon.
The third measure, which prohibits openly carrying loaded shotguns and rifles in public, was approved by a vote of 53-16. A violation would be penalized by up to five years in jail, a $5,000 fine, or both, according to the General Assembly.
The measure contains exceptions for police enforcement, the military, and persons who are legitimately hunting.
The Rhode Island State Police and the Rhode Island Police Chiefs’ Association both issued comments in favor of the three legislation, claiming that they would make the state safer.
On Tuesday, all three bills will be heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“According to my knowledge, the Senate president and his staff support the legislation as drafted. So I’m hopeful, but you never know what may happen in this place “Rep. Justine Caldwell, D-East Providence, sponsored the measure to prohibit large-capacity magazines.
— Molly Levine (@levine_on_scene) June 10, 2022
Thank you @RISpeaker and @RIHouseofReps for advancing this package of common sense gun safety measures. Thank you to the @MomsDemand volunteers and the @RICAGV1 for your hard work and advocacy. We’re one step closer to these bills reaching my desk and signing them into law.
— Governor Dan McKee (@GovDanMcKee) June 11, 2022
Gov. Dan McKee was delighted that the proposals, which he termed “common sense gun safety measures,” were passed by the House.
McKee tweeted late Friday, “We’re one step closer to these laws hitting my desk and being signed into law.”