Two R.I. Concerts Will Raise Money to Fight Gun Violence

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- There will be two concerts, one in Providence and one in Tiverton, on Sept. 25 as part of a national 150-show "Concert Across America to End Gun Violence."

The Providence show will be at the Columbus Theatre, 270 Broadway. It will be hosted by Jeff Prystowsky of Low Anthem, and feature Kristin Hersh of Throwing Muses, Penn Sultan of Last Good Tooth, the Hott Boyz (Roz Raskin, Sarah Greenwald, Kate Jones), singer/songwriter Ian Fitzgerald and poet Muggs Fogarty and the Providence Poetry Slam. State Representatives Aaron Regunberg and Edith Ajello, both Providence Democrats, are scheduled to speak.

The Tiverton show will be at Sandywoods Center for the Arts, 43 Muse Way. It will be hosted by Grammy award-winner Bill Harley, and will also feature Kim Trusty, Ken Lyon, Bay Spring Folk and storyteller Len Cabral.

Both shows start at 7 p.m., with tickets at $20. Proceeds will benefit the Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence, and Artists for Safe Kids at the Sandywoods concert. Tickets are available at www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/1294931 for the Columbus concert, www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2598021 for the Sandywoods concert.

 

Providence Journal - Andy Smith

 

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RI General Assembly morally bankrupt on guns

http://www.rifuture.org/ga-fails-guns.html

 

In the wake of the terrible tragedy at the Pulse nightclub last week in Orlando, there was a small sliver of hope that the RI General Assembly might pass some kind of meaningful gun control legislation. Instead, the House, under the leadership of Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, voted to weaken existing gun laws pertaining to concealed carry permits, and the full house passed a version of a bill to disarm domestic violence offenders that is so watered down as to be meaningless.

In short, the General Assembly did nothing to make Rhode Island safer or to improve the condition of gun laws in Rhode Island, and the House of Representatives attempted to make the situation worse.

Let’s start with the domestic violence bill. Advocates have been pushing a bill for three years that would close a loophole that allows domestic abusers to retain their guns when convicted of a misdemeanor. If passed, the law would take guns out of the hands of criminal domestic abusers.

Cale Keable, left

Cale Keable, left

The Second Amendment Coalition, the local arm of the NRA here in Rhode Island, opposed that bill, and for three years it never got out of committee. Instead, the House decided to take a bill entered by Representative Gregg Amore  and change it into a duplicate of a bill by Senator Cindy Coyne, recently passed in the Senate. Senator Coyne’s bill doesn’t take guns out of the hands of misdemeanor domestic abusers. Instead, it codifies existing law about felony domestic abusers, providing a framework for taking away an abusers guns only in the case of felony domestic abuse.

On the floor of the House, while introducing the bill, House Judiciary Chairman CaleKeable said that the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV), “Acknowledges that this is a good step in the right direction, even if they would have wanted more.”

Not quite.

While the Senate was debating the Coyne bill, Deborah Debare, executive director of the RICADV said, “This bill was originally proposed as part of a comprehensive package that would have been a major step forward for victim safety, and we supported it in that context. Passed in isolation, however, this legislation is an administrative fix to existing systems that will have little impact on victims or on preventing domestic violence homicides.” (italics mine)

Coyne had presented and the RICADV had supported a package of bills. This one bill, on its own, does nothing for domestic violence. “We caution against seeing the passage of this legislation alone as a victory towards creating safety for victims and their families, or towards preventing the domestic violence homicides that continue to take a toll on Rhode Island communities,” said Debare in her letter.

During the Judiciary Committee hearing, Representative Edie Ajello, a co-sponsor of the Amore bill that the committee dismboweled and turned into a copy of the Coyne bill, asked that her name be taken off the bill as it was now presented. “Okay,” said Keable, “I’ll make sure a form is sent to you.”

The committee hearing was held in room 205, away from the Capitol TV cameras that broadcast the goings on on the State House. Under questioning from Representative Carol Hagan McEntee the lawyer for House Judiciary admitted that existing law already covered everything this bill purported to do. All this bill does is establish a standardized statewide framework for having guns removed from the possession of convicted felony domestic abusers. It also makes sure that these criminals will be properly recompensed for the value of their guns if the weapons are sold.

This was all done under the watchful, approving eye of Frank Saccoccio of the Second Amendment Coalition.

After the bill passed in committee, Tom Wojick, a members of Moms Demand Action, left the committee meeting room saying “Shame on you!” to the reps.

 

 

In the hallway outside the committee, Jerry Belair, representing the Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence (RICAGV), called the legislation “Virtually meaningless”. The House, says Belair, “is using this legislation to provide cover for themselves, as a red herring, to make believe they’re doing something for domestic violence.”

Jennifer Boylan Smith, a local leader of  RI Moms Demand Action, said in the hallway after the committee vote that the “Moms are very angry, very frustrated” with the passage of this bill.

Hours later the bill went to the floor of the House. It passed virtually unanimously.

Representative Teresa Tanzi, who has been fighting to pass a real bill that would disarm domestic abusers for three years, rose to speak after the vote. I’m quoting her at length below:

This is a bitter pill for me to swallow today. Who can stand here tonight and say they were against a bill as the chairman said, is the first time in the history of Rhode Island, that we would be surrendering guns for those convicted of domestic violence provisions?

“Certainly not I.

“The thing that hurts me, and frankly the thing that haunts me, is that it’s just a little too little. On our final day of session, we had an opportunity here to make a real difference. To not wait until the inevitable tragedy, and I really truly believe that it is inevitable that this will come here some day, but to protect Rhode Island families now… passions are high right now… our community is reeling in the wake of yet another mass murder.

“We are called on to act as lawmakers to respond, to protect, and this response to the pleas of our constituents I feel is not on par with the crisis that our nation currently faces.

“My hope is that when I return, that we as a body return in January that we continue the work that Rep Amore, myself, the Speaker and so many others began and will be able to address the issue because it will not go away.

“A generation of citizens has been awakened to a new reality. And I personally will not rest until I feel that we have done all that we as a body can do to reverse the tide of gun violence. And I truly am grateful to you all for not objecting, for allowing me this moment, to say my piece on the floor, and I truly appreciate it.”

 

Though the bill does nothing to protect victims of domestic abuse, is does have safe guards in place to protect domestic abusers from whatever financial losses they might suffer in losing their guns. In a press release, the General Assembly pointed out:

Under the bill, firearms surrendered to gun dealers could be sold by the dealer to a person designated by the person subject to the surrender order, but that person must not live in the abuser’s household and would be prohibited from returning the gun to the abuser’s possession. The abuser could receive payment for any sale after the surrender.

“The bill asks the Police Officer’s Commission on Standards and Training to establish policies for what law enforcement agencies should do with firearms surrendered to them under this bill. The bill stipulates that the person who surrenders the gun is to be notified when it is disposed of by the department, and that he or she should receive any financial value derived from its disposal.”

Having passed legislation that does more for perpetrators of domestic violence than it does for victims, the House immediately moved to pass legislation that would give police chiefs less discretion in denying concealed carry permits. Currently the law in Rhode Island allows concealed carry permit holders to bring their guns into schools. A bill to prevent that has never gotten out of committee. Instead, the House decided to pass legislation that is opposed by police chiefs throughout the state, because it will make it harder to deny concealed carry permits.

Representative Michael Chippendale rose to wax eloquently about how wonderful this bill was. He seemed pleased that the bill would make it easier to deny permits to gang members while making it easier for anyone else to get permission to conceal a gun on their person.

This bill passed overwhelmingly, with only six legislators, Ajello, Jean Phillipe BarrosJoy Hearn, McEntee, Aaron Regunberg and Tanzi voting against it. Reportedly, after the bill passed, some legislators, including Jan Malik, changed their vote. Malik was recently challenged by his primary opponent Jason Knight to return campaign contributions to the NRA.

 

Reaction on Twitter was swift and negative after Ted Nesi reported the passage of the concealed carry bill:

Screen Shot 2016-06-17 at 9.01.07 PM

Screen Shot 2016-06-17 at 9.01.14 PM

Governor Gina Raimondo won’t have to veto the bill. The Senate did not pass it, reportedly under pressure from police chiefs from throughout the state.

The General Assembly offered thoughts and prayers and moments of silence in the wake of the Orlando tragedy. They used victims of domestic violence to pretend that they were passing meaningful legislation, when in fact the legislation protects perpetrator more than victims. They came close to making it easier for anyone to carry guns into schools. They insulted the memory of those who died in Orlando, in Charleston, at Sandy Hook…

The actions of the General Assembly last night was an insult to Rhode Island, and an abject moral failure.

Shame.

 

 

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Providence Journal: Most in R.I. back gun controls for domestic violence convicts

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Eighty-seven percent of Rhode Islanders would at least partially support a law restricting gun possession for those convicted of domestic violence offenses, according to a poll released Thursday by the Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence.

The poll of 605 state residents was conducted by former New York Times poll analyst Louis DiNatale, of Princeton Research Associates. It has a margin of error of 4.2 percent.

When first asked, 74 percent of respondents contacted via phone calls said they would be very likely to support such a law. Another 13 percent said they would be somewhat likely to lend their support.

Jerry Belair, the coalition's board president, said he hoped the poll would demonstrate to the Democratic leaders of the General Assembly that there is wide-ranging support for three bills the organization is backing. One restricts gun-ownership rights for domestic violence offenders or those subject to a restraining order stemming from alleged abuse. Another restricts guns on school grounds. A third bans the sale and manufacture of magazines that can accept more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

The coalition wants House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello to direct the House Judiciary Committee to move legislation to the floor for a vote, Belair said.

Mattiello has consistently said the state already has some of the strictest gun laws in the country and had been reluctant to consider new restrictions. Last month, however, he said he was seriously looking at the issue to see if a compromise could be found between Second Amendment rights "and the necessary work of protecting victims of domestic violence."

Belair pointed out that 100 of the poll respondents are from Cranston, the speaker's district. Eighty-seven percent of the Cranston residents polled also indicated they would at least somewhat support such a bill.

Here's how the survey was done: Looking at the issue of guns and domestic violence, 13 percent of those polled either indicated they weren't sure or were not very likely to support a law limiting gun possession for those convicted of such crimes. Those respondents were then given more information about federal gun laws in such cases and then asked again if they would support the measure in Rhode Island. That swelled the total number of people showing some support to 92 percent.

When respondents were asked how likely they would be to support a law "restricting carry concealed guns in elementary schools except by law enforcement" and others, 78 percent indicated they would either be very likely or somewhat likely to support such a measure. Similarly, that number grew after those who weren't originally in support were given more information and then asked the same question again.

Those who weren't initially supportive of a law restricting guns in schools were then told "anyone with a concealed carry permit can bring a gun to a classroom, any school function, parent teacher conferences and even sports venues." After hearing that information, a total of 82 percent of respondents said they would be at least somewhat supportive of such a law.

"Asking for safety isn't asking for a ban," Belair said, addressing a common criticism for gun-rights advocates who have said the coalition and others hope to someday ban guns entirely.

Nearly 30 bills relating to firearms are pending in the General Assembly. What some of them would do:

H7575: Would ban those who are convicted of a crime involving use of force or threatened use of a firearm against a family or household member from purchasing or owning guns.

S2416 and H7541: Would allow anyone with an active concealed weapon permit from Massachusetts, Connecticut or Utah to also carry their firearm in Rhode Island.

S2490: Would prohibit the respondent in a domestic abuse case where a protective order has been issued from possessing or buying guns while the restraining order is in effect.

S2761 and H7243: Would ban anyone other than peace officers — defined as state and municipal officers and others — who has a concealed weapon permit from bringing a gun onto school grounds.

H7093: Would allow gun permits to be automatically renewed.

jbogdan@providencejournal.com

(401) 277-7493

 

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Providence Journal: R.I. federal judge upholds Bristol's concealed weapons policy

Author: Katie Mulvaney

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- A federal judge Thursday ruled that the Town of Bristol's concealed weapon permitting policy requiring applicants to show a true safety need does not infringe on a resident's Second Amendment rights. 

Jarren R. Gendreau, then 25, had challenged Bristol Police Chief Josue D. Canario's denial of his application for a permit to carry a concealed gun. He argued that the policy requiring a person to show a need to carry a concealed gun in self defense violated the Second Amendment, state law and the state Constitution. 

In ruling Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge John J. McConnell Jr. struck down Gendreau's arguments under the U.S. Constitution, but declined to take up the state law claims as the matter has already been decided by the state Supreme Court. 

"[The] Town of Bristol's policy does not limit an individual's right to possess handguns in the home; it is only concerned with possession and use in the public sphere ..." McConnell wrote. "Bristol's law conditioning permits for concealed weapons on a showing of need is well within the cadre of permissible `public welfare regulations aimed at addressing perceived inherent dangers and risks surrounding the public possession of loaded, operable firearms.'" 

Gendreau in 2012 applied for a permit, citing his need to protect himself while transporting his $4,000 and growing gun collection to the target range each week. He described himself as an avid gun collector.

Further, Gendreau said he sometimes deposits more than $10,000 at a time for his father, who owns an apartment complex and curtain store in Fall River, and would like to protect himself. 

Gendreau also referenced his effort to get a job in the security industry in Massachusetts, asserting that having a permit  in Rhode Island would enable him to get a permit in Massachusetts.

The town's review board held a hearing during which one member asked Gendreau to specify when he would draw a weapon, his lawsuit said. "Well, I'd never draw a weapon unless one, I can't retreat; two, I feel my life is threatened and in immediate physical harm and three, the fear I'm going to be killed," he responded. "There is no other reason to draw a weapon, no brandishing, it's all bad, unless you can't run and you fear for your life and that you're going to die."

The board recommended that Canario deny the permit. The chief did so, saying that he he didn't feel like he met the criteria under state law.  

Rhode Island law dictates that authorities in any city or town "shall" issue a license or permit to carry a loaded handgun to a person 21 or older "if it appears that the applicant has good reason to fear an injury to his or her person or property or has any other proper reason for carrying a pistol or revolver, and that he or she is a suitable person to be so licensed."

Gendreau sought a state Supreme Court review. The high court in 2013 ordered the police chief to render a new decision that detailed his reasons for the denial.

Canario again denied Gendreau's permit, naming as reasons that Gendreau gave no testimony that he had "good reason to fear an injury to 'your' person or property."

"Your testimony does not allow me to find that you had a 'good reason' to fear such an injury," Canario wrote.

The case has gotten financial support from the Citizens' Rights Action League and the Rhode Island Firearm Owners' League, he said.

 

https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/2840055/201605191134.pdf

http://www.providencejournal.com/article/20160519/NEWS/160519216/SHARED/st_refDomain=t.co&st_refQuery=/u0Pasy7MOj?template=printart

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Tom Killin Dalglish: Guns in school - Little Compton council, school board disagree

[Originally published in EastBayRI.com]

LITTLE COMPTON — In separate votes last week, the Little Compton School Committee and the Town Council came down on opposite sides of "No Guns in Schools" legislation now under consideration in the Rhode Island House and Senate.

The Town Council voted 3-1 on Thursday not to support the no-guns legislative proposal, with Councilors Charles Appleton Jr, Fred Bodington III, and Paul Golembeske all voting no, and council President Robert Mushen voting yes, to support it. Councilor Gary Mataronas was absent.

The School Committee on Wednesday voted 3-2 favoring the legislative measures, with School Committee members Patrick McHugh and Polly Allen, and Chairman Tom Allder voting in favor, and members Peg Bugara and Lori Craffey voting against.

"Our attorney advised us to talk with the police chief first," Ms. Craffey said on Friday, in explaining her vote.

"I fully support those bills, along with the rest of the law enforcement community," said Little Compton Police Chief Buzzy Marion Friday.

"Especially in a community like Little Compton," he said. "God Forbid, if our officers go into a school and see someone brandishing a gun and don't know who that individual is, that's a concern of mine. That person could be harmed. If a teacher is carrying, I don't think that's the thing to do. That causes me concern."

"I think it makes sense, when people say they don't want guns in schools except for police officers," said Interim Little Compton School Superintendent Robert Power on Friday, of the "No Guns in School" legislative proposals.

"The vote reflects what the town feels about guns in schools. If people are in the building with weapons, I'd want them to be sworn police officers," he said."

Companion bills in the House (H 7243) and Senate (S 2761), would prohibit guns on school grounds, with exceptions such as for firearms instruction, ROTC programs, interscholastic shooting and marksmanship events, military history and firearms collection courses, and blank guns in theatrical or athletic events.

Currently, Rhode Island law prohibits anyone from carrying a gun on school grounds, but there is an exception — "for people who qualify for concealed carry permits (CCPs)."

Ending the CCP exception has become a rallying point for the Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence, which this year in towns and cities across the state is seeking town council and school committee support for the legislation abolishing the concealed carry exception.

On behalf of the Coalition, Little Compton resident Jana Porter brought resolutions seeking support for the "no gun in schools" state legislation to the school committee.

"Only two communities in the state — Cranston and Little Compton — have opposed the legislation," said Ms. Porter. Last year, of the 23 school committees that voted on the issue, all voted against concealed carrying in schools.

Town Clerk Carol Wordell said Friday her office had received 115 e-mails from all over the state asking the Little Compton Council to oppose the legislation.

"I went through the 115 e-mails in Town Hall," said Ms. Porter, "and they can be viewed there. They were almost all identical."

Only six of the letters were from Little Compton residents, she said. The organization behind the mass mailing, she said, appears to have been the Rhode Island Firearms Owners League (rifol.org).

One such e-mail came from Sean Brannigan, of North Providence. "The notion, that making schools gun free zones makes school children safer, is simply not true. To the contrary, it makes them helpless targets for deranged killers," Mr. Brannigan wrote.

"On the one hand, there is the false premise this resolution is based on, that CCPs are a danger in schools. On the other, there are the facts that CCPs have actually saved lives in schools and elsewhere."

"Facts and common sense make clear that banning CCPs from school grounds makes children less safe. In voting in favor of this resolution, the Town Council would be on the wrong side of this potentially life-and-death issue."

A Coalition "Fact Sheet" says CCP holders "can carry their weapons 'everywhere' including schools, but not in RI courthouses, airports and most government buildings." The state concealed carry law came into effect in 1990, says the Coalition.

"Currently," says the Coalition, any CCP holder "can carry a firearm on school grounds including the school, surrounding property, parking lots, and after school sporting events and gatherings without the knowledge of police or school officials."

"Concealed carry is prohibited in K-12 schools in 39 states," says the Coaliton's Fact Sheet.

The proposed legislation has received the support of the Rhode Island League of Cities and Towns, the Rhode Island Association of School Committees, and the Rhode Island Superintendents Association.

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Newport Council Backs Concealed Carry Gun Ban in Schools

NEWPORT, RI—The Newport City Council on Wednesday voted unanimously to support a pair of bills at the State House that would prohibit concealed carry permit holders from bringing guns into schools.

The vote followed the approval of a similar resolution by the Newport School Committee on Tuesday night and came after a lengthy and thoughtful debate about whether concealed weapons really make schools safer, or perhaps more dangerous.

Rhode Island is one of just a handful of states that doesn't already explicitly prohibit guns in schools except those carried by law enforcement.

More than one council member said that they thought long and hard about the topic before deciding to support the proposed legislation in the Rhode Island House and Senate, including Marco Camacho, who said that he originally was opposed but changed his mind after reviewing the concealed carry permit law.

Camacho said that he supports an exemption in the bills for off-duty police officers because the training they get for their jobs is extremely thorough. Civilians, on the other hand, do not have to demonstrate nearly as much to get a permit, Camacho said.

Making quick decisions when there are moving targets, reloading under pressure, malfunction drills are all part of the training police officers recieve, Camacho said. But "we need to be honest—parents and teachers aren't properly trained in public safety and are not deputized police officers."

In terms of the Second Amendment, Camacho said that like other Constitutional keystones, like freedom of the speech of press, there are limits. You can't yell "fire" in a crowded theater and you can't print libelous stories in the newspaper without risking being sued, he said.

"You can't sacrifice virgins in volcanoes," Camacho said. "This restriction is no different."

Councilor John Florez said there is an assumption that having guns makes one safer despite an "abundance of evidence it's quite contrary."

Florez cited a study that showed death rates increase sevenfold when guns are present. Seventy-five percent of all children murdered in the developed world are here in the United States.

Councilor Justin McLaughlin shared a similar viewpoint: "What's the good of guns in schools?" he asked. "We don't need guns, we need education in our schools. Schools should be gun-free zones unless there's a public safety officer for reasons of public safety."

Councilor Kate Leonard said that she is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and has her own concealed carry permit in three states. It was a difficult balancing act in her mind to ultimately support the resolution, though she said she had considerable reservations.

Leonard said that it seemed unfair that a special class of retired and off-duty police officers were getting an exemption. She also said that the horrific mass murders and school shootings over the years have more to do with mental illness than whether guns are allowed in schools or not.

But, she said, she is just as deeply concerned about the safety of children in schools and what happens during and after school. She worked in the Connecticut school system for 25 years and saw children killed "more often than I'd like."

It was a community gripped by gang violence, Leonard said.

Mayor Jeanne Marie Napolitano said that if guns are not allowed at the courthouse or the State House, then it only stands to reason that gun-free schools should follow suit.

"Supposedly they don't let you have [a concealed gun] over on the Navy base, why in God's name would we allow them in school with our youngsters," Napolitano said.

Council members noted that they got a barrage of emails from people opposed to the proposed legislation but many of the emails were the same message sent repeatedly. 

Of the more than 100 emails on the issue only four were from actual Newport resident, Napolitano said.

One resident, David Eikland, told the council that he opposed the measure because "a gun free sign won't stop anyone from going into a school."

His main concern, he said, was that he loses the right to defend himself when he goes inside the school building to pick up his child.

Eikland also said that if the law passed, he would have to leave his gun in the car, which makes it susceptible to theft. There are no metal detectors and no armed guards at the school either, he said.

Camacho fired back by saying that the security at Newport schools is outstanding and recent actions by law enforcement in response to bomb threats proved it. "We do take active measures we can't talk about on the dais here," Camacho said. "The response from our police and first responders was second to none. If some bad guy out there thinks Newport is a soft target. . . think again."

Napolitano agreed.

"Think about the chaos that takes place at a time like that," the mayor said in reference to a school shooting. "Who could think straight? Right now we have teachers who look like kids. How is the police supposed to determine who is a perpetrator or is a teacher?"

The House version of the bill was heard on March 22 and held for further study. The Senate bill was introduced on March 10 and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

 

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Betsy Sherman Walker: Committee Favors Gun Ban in Schools

Whether seen as a thorn in the nation’s side, a constitutional guarantee, or a harbinger of tragedy, the existence of guns has taken a place in our lives, and no community is exempt.

At the March 22 Middletown School Committee meeting, Nan Heroux, secretary of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence, presented the provisions of H-7243, a House bill recently endorsed by the Rhode Island School Principals Association and the Rhode Island Association of School Committees, to keep guns out of schools.

At the April 12 meeting of the Newport School Committee, the assembled members did more than discuss the various points and targets of the bill when they voted by a margin of 4-3 to approve the Resolution on Gun Free Schools, “to disallow non-law enforcement [persons] to carry concealed firearms onto school grounds.”

The debate beforehand, which included input from Heroux, a former member of the Middletown School Committee, had both sides agreeing on the end result – safety on school campuses – but not on what steps to take to get there.

“Many people don’t even realize,” she explained, “that Rhode Island is one of two states – Utah is the other – that unrestrictedly allows guns on school grounds.” Of the other 48, she said, “39 have outlawed them. The other nine have various restrictions.”

The sticking point came down to one idea: the unpredictability of concealment.

School Committee Chair Jo Eva Gaines explained that current state law allows individuals with a Conceal Carry Permit, or CCP, to walk onto school grounds carrying a concealed weapon, and that the “vast majority” of states have banned concealed weapons on school grounds. Those in favor of the bill agreed with Gaines, who saw too much of a risk in allowing anyone, no matter how qualified, to walk onto a campus carrying a concealed weapon.

David Carlin was one of the three committee dissenters. “With respect to both sides of the issue,” he said, “I think it is an error to prohibit concealed carry permit holders.” The issue, he said, is that CCP holders do not fit the profile of the school shooter. In his research, he said he “could find no example of CCP-involved school shootings.” He cited last October’s campus shootings in Oregon. “The college had established itself as a ‘gun-free zone,’” he said. “We might be sending a signal to folks who have very bad intents: That this school district is, effectively, a place where you can come and commit violence without the likelihood of anyone being able to stop it.”

David Hanos agreed with Carlin. “I feel similar sentiments,” he said. “We need to be safe, yes, but I feel it is the individual and not the weapon.”

“We are not about taking guns away,” said Heroux. “We just don’t feel that schools are the place for people who carry guns.” The CCP regulations, she continued, were implemented a quarter century ago, “without consideration for school shootings.”

Later she added, “We don’t allow concealed weapons in airports, in our courthouses, or the Statehouse. Why would we allow them in our schools?”

Local resident David Eikeland had asked ahead of time to bring his own perspective into the room. “Your job is to run the Newport schools, not regulate gun laws,” he told the committee, adding that “this is not a good idea.” The issue, he said, is up to the General Assembly and he pointed out that a similar bill was considered last year and that “they knew it was not a good bill.” It gets complicated, Eikeland added. “I don’t think the sponsors fully understand the bill.”

Before asking for the final vote Gaines said, “I just think the proliferation of guns and the chance that a child might get hold of a gun and harm another child, harm an adult, or harm themselves, is just not a risk we should take.”

Committee members Carlin, Hanos, and Robert Leary joined together in a minority in opposition to the vote that sent a message to Smith Hill legislators in support of the House bill. 

In other school matters…

The School Committee also discussed the possibility of working with the city to install cameras inside and outside various school buildings. School Supt. Colleen Jermain told the committee that the “funding was in place” to purchase the cameras, but the logistics and timing have not been worked out yet. “We don’t have plans on where [to put them yet]. We have discussions with the city over possible locations,” said Jermain. “I will bring that back to you. Right now we are in discussions, in planning.” Gaines said the schools should also consider installing motion lights next to the cameras. “Cameras won’t do much at night if there is no light,” she said. “You can’t see people in the dark.” After a question by Leary, Jermain confirmed that while grant money is available to purchase the cameras, other monies would be needed for maintenance, upkeep and repair. “That would have to be studied going forward,” said Jermain.

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Man Hurt in Upper South Providence Shooting

Providence Journal
Author: Carol Kozma
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Police are investigating a shooting Sunday night in Upper South Providence, where a man was hurt, police said.
Police headed to 94 West Clifford St., around 9 p.m., after a report of multiple shots being fired from a silver car driving by the home, said Lt. Richard Fernandes. He said a bullet did go into the home and an adult man in the living room was hit. 
The man was taken to Rhode Island Hospital with non-life threatening injuries, Fernandes said.
No further information was available.
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Providence Journal: Reaction in R.I. mixed on executive actions on guns

 

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — President Obama's executive actions meant to reduce gun violence were met with praise from Governor Raimondo and Rhode Island gun-control groups, but skepticism from local gun advocates.

“Gun violence has affected too many families across our country — it's out of control, it's unacceptable, and it's hurting our children and our communities," Raimondo said in an email Tuesday. "The President showed tremendous leadership today, and I strongly support his efforts to take more common sense steps to keep our families safe from gun violence."

Frank R. Saccoccio, president of the Rhode Island 2nd Amendment Coalition, questioned the effectiveness of the actions, such as expanding background checks: "Will it have any perceivable effect on crime?"

The actions the president laid out Tuesday include expanding the number of gun buyers who are subject to criminal background checks and making the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, more efficient. Obama said he also will hire more personnel to handle background checks and track illegal firearms trafficking, direct federal officials to sponsor research into gun safety technology, and increase access to mental health treatment.

Rhode Island is one of the states that requires background checks for all gun sales. That has little effect, however, when people can buy guns in states with less stringent laws and bring them here. When the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives traced firearms seized in crimes in Rhode Island, most were purchased out of state — and often from states with lax laws.

"If you can get background checks in other states, a lot of guns being used in crimes here and in Massachusetts will stop," said Jerry Belair, president of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence. "You're not going to stop it all, but you can stop some." 

About 40 percent of gun sales are performed without background checks, said Belair, citing a study from the Violence Policy Center, a Washington, D.C.-based organization. "A significant number go into the criminal market," Belair said. "All the president's saying ... if you're going to buy a gun, you have to go through a background check. That will curtail the criminal market."

However, Saccoccio had concerns about the president's direction to the Social Security Administration and Department of Health and Human Services to report to NICS the identities of people prohibited from owning guns for mental health reasons. Saccoccio served on a state panel that came up with recommendations for Rhode Island to send records of people with serious mental illnesses to NICS. There were questions about a "chilling effect" on people seeking treatment, he said. 

The background check system is used to screen out those forbidden to own guns, such as convicted felons and people with serious mental illnesses. The system is imperfect, because some states aren't submitting complete reports on people's criminal histories or mental health records. 

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch sent a letter to every state this week, asking for their support in submitting records into NICS. Raimondo said her administration will take a close look at the specific issues raised by the attorney general.  

amilkovi@providencejournal.com

(401) 277-7213

On Twitter @AmandaMilkovits

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Providence Journal: Governor, Sen. Reed call for renewed push towards gun control

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Fewer than 12 hours after the second on-campus shooting in a week, and on the heels of a spate of mass shootings across the country, U.S. Senator Jack Reed and Governor Gina Raimondo called for renewed legislative efforts to push gun control. 

Joining them at a news conference were Teny Gross, on his final day as executive director of the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence, State Police Col. Stephen G. O'Donnell, Jerry Belair, president of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence and representatives from the office of Rhode Island Atty. Gen. Peter F. Kilmartin. The conference was at the Nonviolence Institute in South Providence.

"We have to stand together" - Democrats and Republicans - to pass gun control legislation in Congress, Reed said. "I'm working with my colleagues on making background checks stronger - shutting down the pipeline for illegal guns," and closing loopholes to prevent "unsuitable persons" from acquiring firearms.

Reed spoke of the heartbreak of watching President Obama's gun-control proposals fall apart on the Senate floor in 2013 as families of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting watched from the gallery - just four months after that mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

"Passing these bills are necessary, we need Democrats, Republicans" to come together, he said. "I believe we can do so." The American people "don't want to see this every week." 

Raimondo said, "It's simple. There should't be guns in schools, and there shouldn't be guns in the hands of folks with a history of domestic violence."  

While gun control legislation failed in the last General Assembly session, Raimondo said she will be convening a stakeholders group to determine "what is the legislation we can all get behind" this next session.

Gross, who is leaving the Institute after 15 years to do non-violence work in Chicago, predicted that "the NRA will be defeated," and "eventually, we will come to our senses."

Gross added, "We will prevail - I just hope it won't take another 20, 30 Newtowns."

kziner@providencejournal.com

(401) 277-7375

Twitter @karenleez

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