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Rhode Island lawmakers to mull draconian ban on sale of semi-automatic weapons

Rhode Island lawmakers to consider draconian ban on semi-automatic weapons.
Rhode Island lawmakers to consider draconian ban on semi-automatic weapons.
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Lawmakers in Rhode Island are set to take another look at banning the sale of semi-automatic weapons, but, the Associated Press said Tuesday, it’s unclear if anything has changed from last year, when a proposal to ban the sale of semi-automatic weapons fell flat.

Supporters of gun rights are set to gather at the statehouse Tuesday as lawmakers gather to consider the ban in a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee.

Supporters of the measure say restrictions on the firearms would reduce the risk of a mass shooting as well as more common acts of gun violence. Gun rights supporters, however, disagree, and say the proposal would infringe on the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, while doing little to address the problem of gun crime.

Lawmakers are also set to review legislation on large-capacity magazines.

ABC6 in Providence said that no fewer than nine bills are being considered, including one to boost sales tax on ammunition.

"People do have the right to own a gun. I believe in that. But I think there's also a new type of responsibility that has to come with controlling a gun and the guns that go out into the street," said state Rep. Joe Almeida, D-Providence.

Almeida, ABC said, sponsored three of the bills being considered.

"We're in an election year and there is an element of this that is obviously election year antics," state Rep. Mike Chippendale, R-Foster, said in response.

The “Safe Firearms Act” introduced by Almeida was described as "more restrictive" than similar measures passed in Connecticut and New York.

According to Bearing Arms, if someone "managed to find a firearm that was not covered under the law either by name or list of cosmetic features (pistol grip or thumbhole stock, folding or telescopic stock, forward pistol grip, flash hider, centerfire rifle with a fixed magazine of more than ten rounds, total length of less than 30 inches, etc) and bought an otherwise legal attachment, the firearm would be deemed an 'assault weapon,' whether they were attached or not."

The bill also requires registration and says the list can be turned over to both law enforcement and “the director of the department of behavioral healthcare, developmental disabilities and hospitals (BHDDH).”

No vote on the measure has been scheduled.

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