PROVIDENCE – State lawmakers, Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee and Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin have unveiled a nine-bill plan to help “improve gun safety and strengthen existing laws dealing with firearm violations.”
The bills, which were unveiled at a press conference Tuesday afternoon, propose bans on assault weapons and high capacity magazines, and the institution of background and mental health checks. The bills will be introduced in either one or both of the state’s legislative chambers.
“The tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School sounded a wake-up call for all of us,” Speaker of the House Gordon D. Fox said in prepared remarks. “For the last several months, we have been reviewing our firearms laws and our mental health procedures,” said Fox. “The package will give law enforcement the tools they need to address gun-related criminal activity and better identify individuals who are a danger to themselves or others.”
The nine bills that are part of the package are as follows:
- Gun Control and Safe Firearms Act: This bill bans the manufacture, sale, purchase or possession of semi-automatic assault weapons after July 1, 2013. It also bans high-capacity magazines, belts, drums, feed strips or similar devices manufactured on or after July 1. It does not apply if the weapon is an antique, is inoperable, or was manufactured prior to July 1, 1963, and does not apply to an attached tubular device capable of operating only with .22 caliber rimfire ammunition.
- Firearms Violations: This bill increases the maximum penalty for carrying a stolen firearm when committing a crime of violence from 10 years to 15 years for a first offense. It makes it unlawful for anyone to possess a stolen firearm, setting a penalty of not less than three years or more than 15 years in prison.
- Behavioral Health and Firearms Safety Task Force: The bill creates a task force charged with making recommendations and possibly proposing legislation to support full participation in the NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System) Index and to act in an advisory capacity to the Relief for Disqualifiers Board.