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Rhode Island Senate Passes Lifesaving Legislation to Require Secure Storage of Firearms; Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action Respond 

March 19, 2024

PROVIDENCE, RI – Today, the Rhode Island chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, issued the following statements applauding the Rhode Island Senate for passing critical legislation to require the secure storage of firearms, strengthening the current statewide firearm storage law, SB 2202. Today’s passage comes after dozens of volunteers with Moms Demand Action testified in support of this bill last week when it was heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“We’ve been advocating for stronger secure storage requirements in Rhode Island for years because we know that this is a critical piece of legislation that can keep guns out of the hands of someone who could pose a danger to themselves or others, and ultimately save countless of lives,” said Susan Morettini, a volunteer with the Rhode Island chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Gun violence prevention requires the involvement of all of us, including legislators, school districts, gun dealers, and individuals, and this bill brings us all into the fight to keep our communities safe. We’re hopeful that the House will follow the Senate’s lead and pass this critical piece of legislation soon.” 

“My generation is all too familiar with the deadly consequences of failing to securely store a firearm,” said Caleb Schultz, a volunteer lead with the Brown University Students Demand Action chapter. “Last year was the worst year on record for unintentional shootings by children. Let that sink in. Hundreds of kids unintentionally shot themselves or others all because a deadly weapon wasn’t stored properly. These tragedies are preventable and that’s why we need life-saving secure storage measures like SB 2202.” 

Rhode Island’s current firearm storage law only addresses cases in which unsecured, loaded firearms are actually accessed by children and used to injure themselves or someone else. SB 2202 would reinforce secure gun storage as a core value of responsible gun ownership in Rhode Island by requiring all gun owners to securely store their guns when not in use, either in a safe or a container or with a safety device that prevents unauthorized access. It would further require gun dealers to both post signs and give information to people who purchase guns about secure storage, suicide prevention, and Rhode Island’s gun safety laws, and it would require school districts to give information to students and their families. 

Today’s vote comes after Everytown released new data highlighting the devastating rise in unintentional shootings by children, finding that 2023 had the highest number of incidents since Everytown started tracking them in 2015. The report found that the annual number of unintentional shootings by children surpassed 400 for the first time since Everytown began its tracking. Research shows that a very effective way to prevent an unintentional shooting is to make sure firearms are stored as securely as possible. 

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

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