RICAGV Press Release
The Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence Condemns the Rhode Island Democratic Party’s Exclusion on Gun Safety
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 9, 2018
CONTACT: Kat Kerwin, Director of Communications
Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence Condemns the Rhode Island Democratic Party’s Exclusion of Gun Safety
Providence, Rhode Island (May 9, 2018) – During Monday evening’s Rhode Island Democratic Party Platform Meeting many platform committee members, called for a Democratic Party with “traditional” and “conservative” values. Despite calls for a “big tent” party, one committee member told advocates of gun safety legislation and other progressive priorities, “If you don’t like it, peel away and create the Social Democratic Party.”
The Rhode Island Democratic party is currently out-of-step with both the national Democratic Party and the views of Rhode Island Democrats. The RICAGV drew language from the National Democratic Party platform when we wrote our ideal language for the Rhode Island Democratic Party to adopt around gun control. The national party platform even explicitly reads “keep weapons of war-such as assault weapons and large capacity ammunition magazines off our streets.” Rhode Island Democratic voters overwhelmingly support gun control and gun safety measures. A recent poll conducted by WPRI and Roger Williams University found that an overwhelming 71% of Democrats support banning assault weapons. Other polls have consistently shown strong support for gun safety legislation among Democrats both nationally and in Rhode Island. Those who paint support for gun control as part of a fringe, leftist agenda do the Democratic Party of Rhode Island a grave disservice.
“On Monday many called for a ‘big tent’ Democratic party, but their vision for the party is one in which only their conservative values are allowed to be heard,” said RICAGV President Linda Finn. “Right now the Democratic Party of Rhode Island does not have a big tent. Rather, it has a very small tent where only insiders and corporate lobbyists can gain admittance, and the rest of Rhode Island’s Democrats are locked out and kept voiceless.” Finn continued, “The vast majority of Rhode Island Democrats support gun safety legislation, and the party’s platform needs to reflect that, or the party risks losing an entire generation of young people who will see the party as not reflecting their values.”
The General Assembly ignored the massive outpouring of anxiety and fear on display in 2018 by thousands of R.I. students, parents, teachers, professionals, arts, and concerned citizens by failing to bring The Safe Schools Act out of Judiciary Committees in both the House and Senate for the 4th straight year; they also left The Assault Weapon and High Capacity Magazine Bans in Judiciary, as well as failing to act on many family-focused pieces of legislation.
Another great turnout for lobbying lawmakers on The Safe Schools Act.
RICAGV joins with public health officials and law enforcement in opposition to the legalization of stun guns (tazers); these same officials are in support of The Safe Schools Act, which is still being held for study by the Judiciary Committee.