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Rhode Island Leaders Call for Ban on Assault Weapons Following CT Massacre

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Last Friday’s deadly elementary school shooting in Newtown, CT has prompted all four members of Rhode Island’s Congressional delegation to call for stronger gun laws.

Twenty children and six adults were killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre before the gunman, Adam Lanza, took his own life. The primay weapon used was a Bushmaster .223 assault rifle.

“I believe we must act to decrease gun related crimes that end the lives of too many Americas,” said Senator Jack Reed. “I have long supported sensible ways to control firearms, including a ban on assault weapons, limits on magazine sizes, and closing the gun show loophole.”

Reed says he believes the “sensible reforms” are necessary and pointed to the Clinton-era assault weapons ban that expired in 2004. He said that that law didn’t eliminate the rights of a hunter or recreational shooters, “but it takes these military-style weapons out of commerce and off our streets.”

The tragedy in Connecticut has only increased talks of changes to the country’s gun laws and California Senator Dianne Feinstein has already indicated she will re-introduce legislation to ban assault weapons again. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse said he would support such reform measures.

"I have long supported proposals to end the sale of assault rifles and high-capacity ammunition magazines, as well as to end the so-called gun show loophole,” Whitehouse said. “I will continue to support these common-sense proposals going forward, and will also closely review any other proposals that may come out in the days ahead to keep our children safe from gun violence.”

Congressman James Langevin said he took believes assault weapons “have no more place on our streets than an army tank; and a small number of gun dealers account for the majority of guns recovered by police and later traced back to crimes.”

He said his support for gun reform doesn’t stop him from supporting the Second Amendment, but said he supports increasing inspections on gun dealers, reinstating the assault weapons ban and prohibiting large capacity magazines.

“Having experienced the unintended damage guns can cause in what should be a totally safe setting, I have long been troubled by the weapons, ammunition and extended gun clips that are so readily available and the lack of constraints we have on the purchase of firearms, including instances where individuals can buy weapons without any background check,” Langevin said.

Congressman David Cicilline, who helped found Mayors Against Illegal Guns during his tenure as Mayor of Providence, agreed with the rest of the delegation, according to spokesman Rich Luchette.

Luchette said Cicilline has co-sponsored several bills that would strengthen gun safety provisions, including the Online Ammunition Sales Act to ban ammunition sales over the Internet and require the reporting of bulk purchases, the Fix Gun Checks Act to require a criminal background check on every firearm sale, and the Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act to prohibit the possession of large capacity ammunition feeding devices.

“He strongly believes that we need to reenact the assault weapons ban to keep dangerous weapons capable of mass shootings out of our communities, institute critically important improvements to our system of background checks for firearm sales to ensure we keep guns out of the hands of those who should not have them in the first place, and implement tighter regulations governing the online sale of ammunition, among several other pragmatic measures currently pending before Congress,” Luchette said.


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