As the Rhode Island legislature convenes for their 2022 legislative session, state lawmakers will once again have the opportunity to pass common sense gun safety measures. As gun violence continues to threaten cities including Providence, Pawtucket and Central Falls, and the COVID-19 pandemic continues to devastate communities across the state, there is an urgent need for meaningful action on life-saving legislation.
Critical gun safety legislation up for consideration in Rhode Island in 2022 includes:
- Legislation carried by Representative Justine Caldwell to prohibit the manufacture, sale, transfer, purchase, possession, or control of high-capacity magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition, and
- Legislation carried by Senate Majority Leader Michael McCaffrey and Representative Leonela Felix to prohibit the open carry of loaded rifles and shotguns in public.
Lawmakers are also considering important legislation that would increase accountability and transparency for law enforcement, including:
- Legislation carried by Representative Anastasia Williams and Senator Ana Quezada which would reform the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights (LEOBOR) to increase police accountability by expanding civilian involvement and oversight in the disciplinary process, allowing law enforcement agencies to comment publicly on active investigations, and making other significant reforms. The bill would also rename the law as the “Law Enforcement Officers’ Accountability Act”, and
- Legislation carried by Representative Jose Batista and Senator Jonathan Acosta which would, among other things, create a statewide use-of-force standard for law enforcement officers and establish a duty to report and intervene when officers use excessive force.
In 2021, the state legislature made gains by passing several gun safety bills that were later signed into law by Governor McKee, including S 0416 / H 5386, which addresses “straw purchasing” by prohibiting people from purchasing or otherwise obtaining a firearm on behalf of someone they know, or reasonably should know, is legally prohibited from having it under federal or state law, and S 0073 / H 5386, which ensures that gun possession is prohibited on K-12 school grounds, with limited exceptions.
Here’s what you need to know about gun violence in Rhode Island:
- In an average year in Rhode Island, 46 people die by guns, and 135 people are wounded. These numbers show an increase in gun violence since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Gun violence costs the state of Rhode Island $299.3 million each year, of which $14.6 million is paid by taxpayers.
If you have any questions, or would like to request an interview with a volunteer from Rhode Island Moms Demand Action or Students Demand Action, please don’t hesitate to reach out.