FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, June 16, 2022
CONTACT: Sydney Montstream-Quas, RICAGV Board Chair, email@example.com
On Tuesday night the Rhode Island Senate passed three critical gun safety bills that will soon make their way to Governor McKee’s desk to be signed into law. Passing these three bills represents the most significant victory yet for the gun safety movement in Rhode Island and the biggest defeat for the corporate gun lobby that dominated Rhode Island politics for many years.
House Bill 6614, which will limit magazine capacity to ten (10) rounds, passed the Senate by an overwhelming 25-11 vote after Senate Bill 2653, sponsored by Senate Judiciary Chair Cynthia Coyne, failed to advance out of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary by a 6-6 vote earlier in the evening. Senate Bill 2825, which will prohibit the carrying of loaded long guns in public, and Senate Bill 2367, which raises the age to purchase long guns to 21, also passed the Senate by votes of 31-5. We expect Governor Mckee to sign all three bills into law early next week.
RICAGV Board Chair Sydney Montstream-Quas says, “Every ounce of energy that legislators, partnering organizations and advocates put into these gun safety bills was critical for their successful passage. We will continue pushing for bills that decrease gun violence trauma on our families, children, and communities. We will not tolerate the status quo of gun violence.”
The Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence (RICAGV) began advocating for a ten-round limit on magazine capacity in 2013 and made its passage a top priority every year since. Seeing many years of hard work and advocacy pay off is very gratifying. We are grateful to all our supporters and partner organizations who have made this possible. At this time, we especially wish to thank the Senate leadership team–Senate President Dominick Ruggerio, Senate Majority Leader Michael McCaffrey and Senate Whip Maryellen Goodwin–for making sure the large-capacity magazine ban did not die in the Senate Judiciary by bringing House Bill 6614 for a vote via “immediate consideration.”
And while it was not her version of the bill that ultimately passed the Senate, we are incredibly grateful to Senate Judiciary Chair Cynthia Coyne for her steady stewardship and strong support of the large-capacity magazine ban. We could not agree with Senator Coyne more when she said, “Critics will claim that no law can prevent the horrific mass killing we’ve seen in Buffalo, Uvalde, and so many other places. But the reality is that we can take meaningful action to reduce the risk of such a tragedy here in our state. Large-capacity magazines enable killing on a massive scale. That is their sole purpose. As such, they have no place on our streets and in our society.” With the passage of this bill, the state of Rhode Island has finally taken meaningful action to prevent mass shootings in our state.
We wish to thank Senators Coyne, Goodwin, and McCaffrey, as well as Representatives Caldwell, Felix and Tanzi, for sponsoring the legislation. We also want to thank Senators Miller, DiPalma, Felag, Quezada, Seveney, Euer, Lawson, DiMario, Lawson, Cano, Kallman, Murray, and Zurier, as well as Representatives Knight, Blazejewski, Kazarian, McNamara, Ajello, McEntee, Williams, Alzate, Morales, Potter, Cassar, Shanley, Ranglin-Vassell, McGaw, Donovan, Giraldo and Kislak for serving as listed co-sponsors, along with all the Representatives and Senators who voted for passage of these three bills.
In addition, we are grateful to Governor Dan McKee, Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos, Attorney General Peter Neronha, Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea and General Treasurer Seth Magaziner for their steadfast commitment to making meaningful gun safety reform happen this year.
While it is gratifying to know that Governor McKee will soon sign these bills into law, these victories are bittersweet. Our country remains in the throes of a gun violence epidemic. Here in Rhode Island, 171 people were shot and killed or shot and wounded between March 2020 and December 2021–a 34% increase compared to the period from March 2018 to December 2019. Our work in Rhode Island assuring that our communities and families are safer from gun violence will continue.
After the large-capacity magazine ban passed the Senate, a few dozen angry opponents of the bill loudly disrupted the session with chants of “vote them out.” RICAGV is preparing to utilize its political power to protect the Senators and Representatives who stood up to the gun lobby and to mobilize against those few remaining Rhode Island politicians who continue to do its bidding. We will not allow our state’s considerable progress on the issue of gun violence to be set back.