PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) -- In response to lawmakers seeking to ban semi-automatic weapons in the state, a local religious leader is making it known that he is also in support of stricter gun laws.
In an opinion piece written for the Rhode Island Catholic , Bishop Thomas Tobin made his stance clear that "the right to own guns is not an absolute right."
The tragedy that occurred in Newtown has sparked debates over gun control on both local and national levels. Last month, Providence Mayor Angel Taveras made a call for increased gun control in his city, and Thursday night, the Providence City Council passed a resolution to ask the General Assembly to ban semi-automatic weapons statewide.
In Tobin's article, he relates gun ownership to free speech, in that it's allowed under the Constitution, but you also can't yell "fire" in a theater for reasons of public safety. What it comes down to, he said, is that the safety of the public should be more important than certain individual rights.
"It seems to me, though, that it's an issue where a little bit of common sense would go a long way in restoring a proper balance between individual rights and the common good of society," Tobin wrote.
Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare spoke to Eyewitness News on the matter Friday , and said that the problem doesn't lie so much on gun ownership, but the availability of illegal guns on the streets.
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