Rhode Island

Assault weapon ban introduced in Rhode Island

Published on January 31, 2023

Governor of Rhode Island Daniel McKee was joined by elected leaders and dozens of advocates and community leaders to mark the introduction of critical gun safety legislation that would ban the sale of assault weapons in Rhode Island.

“I want to say this loud and clear: Rhode Island is ready for an Assault Weapons Ban to help keep our communities safe. And as Governor, I stand ready to sign this legislation into law,” Gov. McKee said. “I am grateful that there is a strong team behind this bill. Thank you to our sponsor’s Representative Knight and Senator Miller, and all of our officers general, mothers demandthe Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence and so many other church leaders and advocates. Let’s go through with it.”

If passed by the General Assembly, Rhode Island would become the 10th state to enact legislation prohibiting the sale, manufacture, and transfer of assault weapons, along with California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York , and the District of Columbia. This legislation builds on the progress Rhode Island made last year by passing legislation to ban large capacity gun magazines, raising the legal age to purchase firearms or ammunition in Rhode Island from 18 to 21 and the open Prohibit carrying loaded rifles or shotguns in public.

“Rhode Island has made great strides on gun safety in recent years, from banning the purchase of straws to raising the legal purchase age for guns and ammunition, but there is still more work to be done. It is time we joined our neighboring states in banning the sale of assault weapons.” said Deputy Governor Sabina Matos. “We cannot wait for tragedy to spur us into action; Let’s pass the ban this year and stop the sale of dangerous guns in our state immediately.”

“We must put politics aside and recognize that the senseless tragedies made possible by offensive weaponry will continue to ravage our communities if we don’t act. This bill is about prioritizing the safety of our students, our neighbors and our entire state.” said Secretary of State Gregg Amore. “I thank Chairman Miller and Representative Knight for their leadership and urge my fellow administrations to pass this legislation.”

“Far too often, our office witnesses the devastating impact that gun violence has on Rhode Island communities.” said Attorney General Peter Neronha. “The efforts of this office, in collaboration with our law enforcement partners, to reach out to those who perpetrate violent crime is paramount and remains one of our top priorities. But there’s more that can be done on the prevention side – to keep combat weapons out of our communities. Our support for this legislation stems from the devastating impact these guns have had across our country, our identification of the risk they pose to Rhode Island, and our commitment to doing everything we can to protect Rhode residents to protect Iceland from gun violence.”

“Every day we are tragically reminded of how the carnage of gun violence is destroying the soul of America. It leaves empty chairs at the dinner table, forces parents to plan funerals instead of birthdays for their children, and inflicts unimaginable grief on survivors. Common sense on the part of Representatives Knight and Senator Miller will save lives. By preventing the sale of these weapons of war, we protect our children, our families and our community.” said Treasurer General James Diossa.

“Gun violence is a public health epidemic. We can and must do more to combat this scourge of violence. While I’m proud of the steps we’ve taken in the General Assembly over the past few years, we still haven’t banned high-powered weapons like AR-15s from Rhode Island. These firearms, the weapon of choice for many mass shooters, are powerful killing machines and we must take steps to remove them from our streets and from our communities.” said Rep Jason Knight (Democrat, District 67, Barrington, Warren), Bill Sponsor.

“We have worked on this legislation for years, refining it over time to ensure it targets the overly lethal weapons that have no legitimate purpose in our society. We’ve done our homework.” said bill sponsor Senator Joshua Miller (Democrat, District 28, Cranston, Providence). “We have listened to every argument from those who do not want firearms restrictions. And during that time, we also witnessed literally thousands of Americans die in mass shootings conducted with assault weapons. children in schools. People at celebrations and concerts. Family members and the elderly in the middle of the service. No more excuses why not. The public deserves better than excuses that continue to allow offensive weapons to be readily available to almost anyone intent on committing murder.”

“Gun violence is a public health crisis. We need courageous leaders to help protect our communities, families and children from more gunshot wounds, injuries and deaths. When we formed the Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence in 2013, banning assault weapons was one of our top priorities. This was shortly after the Sandy Hook massacre, and this bill seemed like an obvious response to address the appalling brutality of gun violence, particularly mass shootings. Fast forward 10 years and yet this bill remains high on the coalition’s priority list.” said Sydney Montstream-Quas, RICAGV Board Chairman. “Since 2013, in collaboration with dozens of partner organizations and hundreds of volunteers, as well as many elected officials, we have built a pipeline in support of an assault weapons ban. RICAGV recently endorsed 39 MPs and 21 Senators, all of whom have expressed support for the ban on the sale of assault weapons. I am confident that with our collective advocacy and courage, we will gather in this room again in a few months to witness Governor McKee sign this legislation.”

“They are weapons made for use on the battlefield, not for defending your home or to be carried on the streets of our communities,” he said Tony Martini, a volunteer with the Rhode Island chapter of Moms Demand Action. “These are the weapons of choice for the mass shooters we talked about. Archers used them to take as many lives as possible as quickly as possible…”

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The legislation would prohibit the possession, sale and transfer of assault weapons. Possession of assault weapons that were in possession at the time the bill went into effect would be “grandfathered,” subject to certain registration requirements. Violators would be punished with up to 10 years in prison or a fine of up to $10,000 and forfeiture of the weapon.

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