RI gun control task force: regulate, ban semi-autos and their magazines

A gun safety working group established by Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo last week announced their findings and recommendation.

The 43-member group, which was established by an executive order by Raimondo two weeks after the high-profile Parkland school shooting in Florida, was made up of lawmakers, prosecutors, medical professionals and gun control advocates picked by the governor to examine establishing a “red flag” gun seizure law for the state.

While such a law has been adopted since the group was formed, its 99-page report issued last week included proposals to ban magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds and tightly regulate most semi-auto long guns. Falling just short of an outright ban on such rifles and shotguns, the group advocated raising the minimum age to possess such a gun to be raised to 21, require state-approved training and licensing to buy one, and mandate that such arms be registered with law enforcement.

“There is simply no place for such firepower in civilian life,” said the report. “While a clear majority of the Working Group wanted to go further and ban all military-style assault weapons—as our neighboring states, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey have done—the Working Group could not reach consensus for such a recommendation. Importantly, however, everyone agreed that registration and tougher restrictions on these weapons are warranted.”

Other recommendations submitted by the group included a ban on “unfinished receivers” and 3D-printed guns, outlawing legal concealed carry on school campuses– a move Raimondo has already implemented via executive order– making it harder to get a gun permit in the state and improving statewide data collection on firearms.

“Since I’ve been governor I have had to lower the flags to half-staff because of gun violence 11 times,” said Raimondo about the report, contending her drive for increased gun regulation was needed in the face of federal inaction. “Enough is enough. While Washington continues to drag its feet, Rhode Island is taking action and working on a plan to keep our schools, our families and our communities safe.”

Facing Republican Allan Fung at the polls next month in a close race, the first-term governor has been emphasising her action on gun policy in recent weeks while accepting support from President Obama and Vice President Biden on the campaign trail.

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