The RICAGV (Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence) held their second annual rally outside the State House, reaffirming their support for three critical pieces of legislation that would ban guns on school grounds, take guns away from domestic abusers and limit magazine capacity to ten rounds. The General Assembly has shown little appetite for these bills in past years, though there are some signs that some sort of compromise bill on keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers might pass this year.
This rally comes after a punishing Senate Judiciary hearing Tuesday night that lasted until after midnight. (I’ll have a piece on that over the weekend.) Speaking about Tuesday night’s hearing, Jerry Belair, president of the RICAGV, said that though he doesn’t like to speak ill of any elected officials, Senators Stephen R. Archambault (Democrat District 22, Smithfield, North Providence, Johnston) and Frank S. Lombardi (Democrat – Distict 26, Cranston), “did more testifying than almost anybody else. They seemed to be unwilling to listen.”
Between the first three witnesses, all representing the gun lobby, and the Senators own “testimony” it took three hours before a single member of the public representing the other side of the argument could testify, said Belair. When his side finally got to speak, said Belair, the Senators did everything they could to interrupt and disagree, “doing everything they could to not make us as effective” in delivering our message.
Belair teased a poll that the RICAGV will be releasing soon that indicates that Rhode Islanders, 3 to 1, want a ten round magazine limit. The same poll says 4 to 1 Rhode Islanders don’t want guns in schools (contrary to Senator Lombardi’s fantasy scenario spelled out here), and 92 percent of Rhode Islanders don’t want domestic violence offenders to possess guns.
The bills to disarm domestic abusers are House Bill 7283 and Senate Bill 2730.
The bills to keep guns out of schools is House Bill 7243 and Senate Bill 2761.
The bills to ban high capacity magazines are House Bill 7199 and Senate Bill 2835.
The RICAGV is encouraging Rhode Islanders to contact their elected officials and demand their support.
Below is all the music and speakers from the rally, plus plenty of pictures.