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Gov. McKee, Lt. Gov. Matos, Lawmakers, Moms Demand Action’s Angela Ferrell-Zabala, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action Volunteers Call for Action on Gun Safety, Celebrate 10 Years of Life-Saving Work 

May 11, 2023

Gun Safety Advocates Rallied in Support of Legislation to Prohibit Assault Weapons, Require Secure Storage of Firearms, and Promote Education About Suicide Prevention

PROVIDENCE, R.I.— Today, Rhode Island Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers, part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, alongside elected officials,  survivors of gun violence, and community partners, gathered for their annual advocacy day in Providence to meet with lawmakers and advocate for gun safety legislation to be passed during this legislative session. The rally featured remarks by Rhode Island Governor Daniel McKee, Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos, Secretary of State Gregg Amore, General Treasurer James Diossa, lawmakers who have sponsored gun safety bills, Executive Director of Moms Demand Action Angela Ferrell-Zabala, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers, gun violence survivors, and community partners. This year’s advocacy day also coincides with the 10 year anniversary celebration of Moms Demand Action. This legislative session, volunteers are advocating for life-saving legislation that will prohibit assault weapons, require secure storage of all firearms, and increase education throughout the state on gun suicide prevention. 

“Banning assault weapons and ensuring safe storage are common-sense actions that can prevent a tragedy and help keep our communities safe,” said Rhode Island Governor, Dan McKee. “We know it will take all of us coming together with one voice to get this legislation over the finish line. That’s why I’m deeply grateful for the strong, united team of elected leaders, community members, Moms Demand Action, Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence, and other gun safety groups standing behind these bills. I am ready to sign them into law the moment they reach my desk. Let’s get it done.” 

“Over the past 10 years, our volunteers have tirelessly fought for safer gun policies and against dangerous gun laws that threaten our communities and our families,” said Angela Ferrell-Zabala, Executive Director of Moms Demand Action. “Our volunteers are fired up to call on Rhode Island legislators to take action that will save lives, including prohibiting assault weapons, legislation to require secure gun storage and increase suicide prevention education. We don’t have to live in constant fear that our schools, shopping malls, or grocery stores will be the next place where we or someone we love might be a  victim of a senseless act of gun violence.” 

“The majority of gun deaths in Rhode Island occur by firearm suicide – tearing our families and communities apart, ” said Melissa Carden, a volunteer with the Rhode Island chapter of Moms Demand Action. “We’re rallying at the statehouse today to call on our lawmakers to pass common-sense gun safety legislation this session that will require the secure storage of all firearms,  provide resources on suicide prevention, and prohibit assault weapons — as we have tragically seen this past weekend with the mass shooting in Allen, Texas how these weapons of war can have devastating impacts in our community. We have the solutions, now it is time for our lawmakers to act so we can keep our communities safe.”

Since the chapter’s founding, volunteers in Rhode Island have helped to secure major legislative wins through their advocacy, including laws prohibiting “ghost guns” and straw purchasing of firearms, keeping guns off of school grounds, a Red Flag law, and keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. Last year, volunteers successfully advocated for the passage of landmark legislation to prohibit high-capacity magazines after nearly a decade of advocacy by Rhode Island volunteers, along with bills to raise the age to purchase rifles and shotguns to 21 and prohibit the open carry of rifles and shotguns in public. 

Volunteers also earned major electoral wins for gun safety last year. Seven current or former Rhode Island Moms Demand Action volunteers running for office up and down the ballot won their elections this past cycle, including five running for seats in the General Assembly. 

In an average year in Rhode Island, 51 people die by guns and 165 people are wounded. 60 percent of gun deaths are by firearm suicide. Gun violence costs Rhode Island $752.1 million each year, of which $15.8 million is paid by taxpayers. More information on gun violence in Rhode Island is available here.

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