PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The House Judiciary Committee passed three pieces of gun control legislation Thursday, following more than a week’s worth of back and forth between Second Amendment supporters and firearm safety advocates.
The bills, which now head to the House floor for consideration, include one that would ban high-capacity magazines that contain more than 10 rounds of ammunition and another that would make it illegal to openly carry a loaded rifle or shotgun in public. The third bill proposes raising the legal gun-buying age from 18 to 21.
This comes less than 24 hours after the U.S. House passed similar gun control legislation, though it is expected to fall short in the Senate.
Prior to the vote, Second Amendment supporters wearing bright yellow T-shirts flooded the State House in opposition of the bills.
Brenda Jacob, president of the Rhode Island Revolver and Rifle Association, tells 12 News the focus shouldn’t be on further restricting gun access, but instead on school safety and mental health resources.
“They are not concentrating on the problem, which is finding a better way to prevent the tragedies before they happen,” Jacob said. “They’re pointing the finger at us and we are law-abiding citizens.”
Mixed into the sea of yellow shirts were gun control advocates wearing red shirts.
Jennifer Boylan of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America believes the legislation will save lives.
She said with the national effort expected to fail, it’s up to Rhode Island to move forward with its own proposals.
“Congress isn’t going to be able to do the job,” Boylan said. “Here in Rhode Island, we have nothing to wait for.”
The House plans to vote on the three bills Friday afternoon. The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to take up the same bills next week.
The renewed push, both nationally and locally, for gun control is in response to the country’s deadliest school shooting since 2012.
Gov. Dan McKee has repeatedly expressed support for the legislation, posting on Twitter ahead of Thursday’s vote that “it’s time for action.”
“Pass these bills,” he wrote. “I’m ready to sign.”