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."