PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The R.I. General Assembly Thursday approved legislation to require gun dealers to notify the police in a gun buyer’s hometown, in addition to the police department of the town it was purchased.
The Julie Lynn Cardinal Act, sponsored by Rep. Daniel McKiernan and Sen. Dennis Algiere, would require gun sellers to forward all firearm applications to the police department of the city or town the buyer lives, or the State Police Department if the buyer resides outside of Rhode Island or Exeter — because there’s no local police department there.
The bill is named after the woman who was killed in a shooting at a Westerly housing complex in December last year.
Police said the gunman, Joseph Giachello, bought the gun in Richmond two days before the shooting. The gun application, which he filled out at the store, was then sent to the Richmond Police Department, even though Giachello lives in Westerly.
In addition to killing Cardinal, who was the manager of the affordable housing complex where the gunman lived, the shooter wounded another manager and a resident before fatally shooting himself.
“This is a simple matter of improving communication between law enforcement agencies,” McKiernan said. “Local police departments are much more likely to have information regarding the mental health of a potential gun buyer. If there are concerns for the safety of the purchaser or others, then the police in the gun buyer’s community can take steps to keep the other agencies notified and potentially avert another tragedy.”
The measure now heads to R.I. Gov. Gina Raimondo’s desk for final approval.