- Associated Press - Friday, March 1, 2019

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Citing a “crisis,” a Democratic state lawmaker said Friday that she has introduced bills to enact stronger gun control laws in Rhode Island.

Democratic Rep. Justine Caldwell, of East Greenwich, said she has introduced three gun safety measures in the Rhode Island House that were proposed by Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo and Attorney General Peter Neronha. The bills would ban the sale and possession of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and impose a penalty for the unsafe storage of firearms.

Caldwell said both the state and nation are “suffering a crisis of gun violence.”

“There is no one cause to our gun violence epidemic, and no one solution, but each of these bills would be an important step toward saving lives,” she said in a statement.

The bills face an uphill battle. Democratic House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello hasn’t been receptive to the idea of banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in the past.



Another House Democrat, Rep. James McLaughlin, said Friday that he opposes both proposed bans. The Rhode Island Second Amendment Coalition does too.

McLaughlin, an Army veteran from Cumberland, said he won’t infringe on Second Amendment rights.

“The state is not in the business of banning assault weapons,” McLaughlin said.

McLaughlin said he’s inclined to support the safe-storage bill though, since he believes gun owners have a responsibility to lock up their weapons.

Raimondo marked the anniversary of the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14 by calling for stronger gun control laws in Rhode Island.

She said she has heard from many Rhode Island residents who want her to do more to prevent gun violence. She also wants the legislature to pass a measure to ban guns in schools.

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