PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Hundreds of Second Amendment supporters gathered at the State House Thursday for their first rally of the legislative session.
The Rhode Island Second Amendment Coalition voiced their opposition to several recently-filed legislation aimed at banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
The assault weapon bill would bar the sale and possession of assault weapons, with an exception for law enforcement and military personnel. It would also allow current assault weapon owners who pass a background check to keep the weapons they currently own.
The high-capacity magazine legislation would ban possession, manufacture, import, purchase, sale or transfer of any ammunition-feeding device capable of accepting more than 10 rounds.
Members of the Second Amendment Coalition argue that the government should be protecting their right to bear arms.
“I’m asking every one of you to bring this information back home to your families, to your friends, to your clubs,” Rally organizer Brenda Jacob told the crowd. “Make sure everybody in our community is informed about what we’re trying to do ─ to protect your right ─ and you know that next week, we’re going to get hit by a whole ton of gun bills, so we have got to up our game.”
The trio of lawmakers behind the bills, Rep. Justine Caldwell and Sens. Gayle Goldin and Joshua Miller, argue that assault weapons have “no legitimate purpose” and allow shooters to “swiftly commit mass murder.”
“We introduce these bills year after year,” Goldin said. “In the meantime, mass shootings continue to occur in America on an almost daily basis. After particularly large tragedies like Parkland, Las Vegas or Aurora, the public outrage about our lax gun laws swells, and yet here we are, still allowing the legal sale of weapons whose only purpose is to allow shooters to inflict as much damage as possible in a short time.”
The bills were both recommendations made by the Gun Safety Working Group convened by Gov. Gina Raimondo following the mass shooting at a Florida high school back in 2018.
All three lawmakers are confident that this year will be the year the bills pass.