House approves ‘ghost gun’ ban after supporters, opponents rally on Smith Hill


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — House lawmakers OK’d legislation Thursday evening that would ban untraceable and undetectable firearms.

The bill, a version of which was approved by the Senate late last month, would make it illegal to manufacture, import, sell, ship, deliver, possess, transfer, or receive guns made “wholly of plastic, fiberglass, or through a 3D printing process.”

Violations would be punishable by up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000.

“While I am a strong proponent of people’s right to bear arms, these devices simply lack the safety, reliability and accountability of conventional firearms and have become a menace to society,” Rep. Patricia Serpa said.

The bill was amended on the House floor prior to its passage, reflecting a compromise with the Senate, which includes language that the provisions of the law would be enforceable 30 days after passage.

The amended legislation now moves once again to the Senate for approval.

Protesters both for and against the bill gathered in the Rhode Island State House rotunda Thursday afternoon prior to the House’s decision.

Supporters of the ban said the so-called “ghost guns” are dangerous because they can pass through metal detectors and often don’t have serial numbers.

Opponents, on the other hand, argue this and other gun-related bills aren’t about guns, but rather control, and would infringe upon their Second Amendment rights.

Two other bills are still in the works, including one that deals with gun applications. The House voted last week to approve legislation making it a requirement to send certain firearm applications to a buyer’s hometown police department as well as Rhode Island State Police.

The bill was introduced in the wake of a deadly shooting at an assisted living facility in Westerly in December. It’s since moved to the Senate for a vote.

Another bill introduced by House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello that would create a statewide public safety records system is still being debated in committee.

In the meantime, Gov. Gina Raimondo and Attorney General Peter Neronha announced “common-sense gun safety legislation” during a news conference earlier in the day. Both said they have eight bills in the works, four of which have already been introduced by legislative leaders.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.



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