Prohibiting Long Guns in Public

House Bill 7358 – Sponsored by Rep. Felix, Co-Sponsored by Rep. Caldwell, Alzate, Morales, Potter, McNamara, Kazarian, Casimiro, Cassar, Shanley
Senate Bill 2825 – Sponsored by Majority Leader McCaffrey, Co-Sponsored by Sen. Goodwin

This bill will close a legislative loophole in Rhode Island law that allows citizens to openly carry loaded rifles and shotguns in public.

This act would define rifle and shotgun as weapons and make it unlawful to possess a loaded rifle or shotgun in public subject to various exceptions inclusive of hunting activity punishable upon conviction by imprisonment up to 5 years or a fine up to $5,000.

Open Carry Creates Danger and Intimidation

This loophole is opposed by law enforcement and is often exploited by white supremacists and other hate groups as a way to intimidate lawmakers and the public.

White Supremacist Incidents Rise Dramatically Across the State

  • The overwhelming majority occured in the last two years

  • Taking place in 35 of the 39 cities and towns throughout Rhode Island

  • A total of 186 incidents include harrassment, propaganda, graffiti, and demonstrations

https://www.providencejournal.com/story/news/local/2022/03/15/white-supremacist-propaganda-increased-ri-last-year-adl-report/7033350001/

183 White Supremacist and Anti-Semitic Incidents in RI 2016-2021_750x500

Rhode Island Extremist Activity in the Media

It’s About Public Safety

Rhode Islander’s support even stricter regulation regarding long guns. When respondents in a 2020 statewide poll were reminded or informed that there is no licensing requirement for shotguns or rifles overwhelming majorities were in favor.

https://www.ricagv.org/2020-poll/

80.7% favor

rifle and shotgun licensing

77.2% favor

rifle and shotgun registration

Extremist Groups in Rhode Island

Thought varied in their ideologies, they share two things: hate of “others” and an affinity for firearms. Three have been identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as groups operating in Rhode Island: Patriot Front by far the most active in the last two years, National Social Club 131, and Proud Boys. Rise of the Moors is part of the “Sovereign Citizen Movement.”

Patriot Front

A white nationalist group with chapters throughout the U.S.. This group has targeted Jews, LGBT+, media, political candidates, and human rights organizations. They are very active in RI, particularly with propaganda with mainstream conservative messaging and red, white and blue colors. According to news reports they were involved in the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol in Washington.

Patriot Front white supremacist banner in front of RI State House
White Supremacist group Patriot Front propaganda in Providence

Nationalist Social Club 131

Reportedly founded in Massachusetts, this New England group is categorized as “neo-nazi.” They have expanded with chapters in multiple other states. The group that disrupted the East Side library reading was reported to have shouted “131,” reportedly referring this group; they also carried a nazi flag and shouted “white power.” According to news reports they were involved in the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol in Washington.

NSC 131 harrassment at East Side book reading Feb 2022

Proud Boys

Categorized as “general hate” by SPL, this group has chapters throught the nation. They frequently joins up with other extremists organizations at rallies. They are known for being confrontational and engaging in street fights. Several members have been arrested on charges related to the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol in Washington.

Proud Boys are very progun

Rise of the Moors

This anti-government group is based in Rhode Island. In July of 2021 eleven heavily armed men dressed in military fatigues and body armor engaged in an hours-long standoff with Massachusetts police on I-95.  The police discovered three AR-15 rifles, two pistols, a bolt-action rifle, a shotgun, and a short barrel rifle; none of the men had a license to carry firearms. All were arrested and charged with many firearms violations. The incident ended without shots fired or any injuries.

Rise-of-the-Moors-RI

Prohibiting Long Guns in Public Would Keep Rhode Island Safe from the Dangerous Situations Occuring Across the Country

Armed Protestors in Oregon

Armed Protests are Six Times More Likely to Turn Violent

According to an analysis of more than 30,000 public demonstrations in the U.S. between January 2020 and June 2021.

The study examined 560 instances in which individuals – whether the protesters themselves or people who opposed them – brought firearms to demonstrations.

In roughly one of every six of those demonstrations, “violent or destructive activity” ensued, the researchers found. At protests where no guns were present, one out of 37 turned violent.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2021/08/23/guns-protests-increase-likelihood-violence/8188602002/

Armed 3 percenters in Kentucky
NFAC,-Brianna-Taylor-Protest,-Kentucky

In 2020 the “Three Percenter” militia counter-protested the “NFAC” militia at a demonstration denouncing the police killing of Breonna Taylor in Kentucky.

https://twitter.com/chris_kenning/status/1287031687751376896/photo/1
https://www.ocregister.com/2020/07/25/white-militia-black-activists-both-armed-converge-on-louisville/

Armed Protestors in Michigan

In 2020 armed COVID protestors swarmed the Michigan State House; open carry is now banned in the state capitol.

https://www.npr.org/2021/01/11/955792090/after-violent-mobs-in-d-c-michigan-bans-open-carry-in-state-capitol

Armed protestors seek to intimidate faith leaders, Charlottesville VA 2020

In 2017 armed protestors at Unite the Right Rally faced nonviolent faith leaders, Charlottesville, VA.

https://www.thetrace.org/2017/08/charlottesville-may-change-debate-armed-militias-open-carry/

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