NBC 10: RI lawmakers propose multiple bills to ban various assault rifles


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WJAR) — Rhode Island lawmakers are reacting to the school shooting in Florida with a renewed push to ban high capacity magazines and assault weapons.

The magazine bill is sponsored by Sen. Gayle Goldin in the Senate, matched by Rep. Aaron Regunberg in the House.

While Rep. Jason Knight will introduce an assault weapons ban later in the month, Sen. Josh Miller will do the same in the Senate.

Sen. Jim Seveney wants a ban on bump stocks and Rep. Katherine Kazarian would ban all firearms on school grounds carried by anyone other than a police officer or a person appointed by the school.

Sen. Finance Chairman William Conley thinks it’s important.

“I think the state would be safer, I think the republic would be safer," Conley said.

Conley also said it’s up the states to lead the way, noting that Congress is unable or unwilling to take action.

“Florida -- you had an assault weapon. In Las Vegas, you had an assault weapon," Conley said. "You have ready access to these weapons and we have to start somewhere. Let’s start in Rhode Island and let’s start with these weapons of mass murder."

The bills will not sail through the legislature without opposition.

Frank Saccoccio of the Rhode Island Second Amendment Coalition said the proposed laws will not make any difference. He said assault weapons and high capacity magazines were banned federally from 1994 through 2004 and studies were done to see how if the prohibition worked.

Saccoccio told NBC 10 News the studies showed “…no measurable decrease in violence because of that. It really didn’t work. So, if it didn’t work before, how is it going to work now?'

Saccoccio went on to say laws against guns aren’t the solution.

“What we really need to talk about is security in schools and mental health," he said. "Not taking firearms from me, you, or someone else who is posing no threat to the general public."

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