Emotions Flare As RI House Committee Takes Up Gun Bill Package

Emotions Flare As RI House Committee Takes Up Gun Bill Package

PROVIDENCE, RI — Rhode Island House of Representatives lawmakers settled in for a marathon committee hearing Friday afternoon, as the Judiciary Committee took up a package of bills that would overhaul gun laws in the state. There are 21 bills in total, covering topics ranging from a ban on assault-style weapons to a limit on high-capacity ammunition magazines. Rep. Justine Caldwell, who sponsored three of the bills, said that the bills aren’t meant to infringe on the rights of gun owners, instead to keep dangerous weapons away from people who intend to do harm. "[The guns used for] many mass shootings, including the recent attack in Atlanta, were acquired legally," Caldwell said. "These weapons we’re talking about in these bills only allow them to kill more people, faster." If passed, Caldwell’s bills would limit magazines to 10 bullets or fewer, ban assault-style guns, and make it a felony to store guns in an unlocked cabinet. The East Greenwich Democrat said she has faced serious backlash from gun rights activists, including threats against she and her children saying they will "show her what guns can do" if the bans pass. Rep. Blake Filippi, the House minority leader, and other representatives on the committee said they believed these comments to be the minority of Rhode Island gun owners, and that they did not represent most gun rights activists in the state. "The opponents are a clear minority, and the majority are looking to us [lawmakers] for protection," Caldwell said in response. […]

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