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Large-capacity magazine ban signed into law
STATE HOUSE – The governor has signed into law legislation approved by the General Assembly and sponsored by Rep. Justine Caldwell and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairwoman Cynthia A. Coyne to ban large-capacity gun magazines, which have enabled mass shootings including the one last month in Uvalde, Texas.
“High-capacity magazines have no legitimate purpose for hunting or self-defense. They enable shooters to unleash torrents of bullets and inflict maximum harm in mere seconds, making them a tool of the trade for mass shootings, drug trafficking and gang violence. They put the public, law enforcement officers and the user in greater harm. Making high capacity magazines illegal to sell and possess will enhance public safety,” said Chairwoman Coyne (D-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence).
The legislation (
) prohibits the possession, sale or transfer of any feeding device capable of holding, or readily able to be extended to hold, more than 10 rounds of ammunition to be fed continuously into a semi-automatic firearm.
“Uvalde. Buffalo. Sandy Hook. Parkland. Las Vegas. Orlando. Sutherland Springs. Boulder. Aurora… the list goes on. High-capacity magazines have enabled mass shooters to commit the most devastating, appalling, and most lethal attacks on the public in recent decades. With this bill, we are finally saying we will not tolerate these dangerous weapons,” said Representative Caldwell (D-Dist. 30, East Greenwich, West Greenwich) “Our neighboring states have already prohibited high-capacity magazines, and we should join them in refusing to accept the risks they present to Rhode Islanders.”
Under the bill, those who already own large-capacity magazines or weapons that hold more than 10 rounds will have 180 days to comply with the law by either permanently altering the weapon so it can no longer hold more than 10 rounds, turning it into their local or state police, or transferring or selling it to a federally licensed firearm dealer or person or outside the state who is lawfully entitled to own or possess it. The bill provides exceptions for current and retired law enforcement officers and active duty military or National Guard members.
The bill was one of three bills to strengthen gun safety laws that Governor Dan McKee signed into law today, joined by bill sponsors Senate Majority Leader Michael J. McCaffrey (D-Dist. 29, Warwick), Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin (D-Dist. 1, Providence), Chairwoman Coyne, Representative Caldwell, Rep. Teresa Tanzi (D-Dist. 34, South Kingstown, Narragansett) and Rep. Leonela Felix (D-Dist. 61, Pawtucket); as well as Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos and Shannon Watts – the Founder of Moms Demand Action, and Rhode Island advocates who have worked tirelessly to get these bills over the finish line.
Rhode Island is one of just a few states to quickly take action on critical gun safety legislation intended to reduce and prevent gun violence in the aftermath of the tragic mass shootings in Buffalo, N.Y., and Uvalde, Texas, last month.
“Here in Rhode Island, we’re taking meaningful action to address the scourge of gun violence and keep our residents safe,” said Governor McKee. “As governor, I am proud to sign a legislative package that will ban high-capacity magazines, raise the legal age to purchase firearms to 21 and prohibit the open carry of a rifle or shotgun in public – these measures can help saves lives. My deepest thanks go out to the legislative sponsors and the thousands of advocates who stepped up and got the work done.”
According to Everytown for Gun Safety, which seeks to reduce gun violence, mass shootings involving a firearm equipped with a high-capacity magazine resulted in nearly five times as many people shot, more than twice as many fatalities, and nearly 14 times as many injuries per incident on average compared to those that did not involve the use of high-capacity magazines. Ten states and Washington, D.C., regulate high-capacity magazines. Those states experience mass shootings at a far lower rate than states like Texas that don’t regulate magazine capacity, according to the organization.
“Today’s bill signing is living proof of way advocacy matters. As a mom, I am grateful to all the moms and their allies whose tireless efforts to address gun violence made the passage of the critical, common-sense gun reforms possible. Thank you to the House, Senate, and governor for working to swiftly and decisively enact these public safety protections into law, Additionally, thanks to Attorney General Peter Neronha for spearheading this effort from the executive branch. Today we make Rhode Island a safer place to live. And while there is still work to be done in addressing gun violence in our state and country, at least tonight I can talk with my kids about why civic engagement matters,” said Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea.
“Common-sense gun control measures are necessary to save lives and help prevent mass shootings from occurring in Rhode Island,” said General Treasurer Seth Magaziner. “I am proud to have worked with advocates around the state for years to support these and other measures and thankful to the members of the General Assembly for passing these laws to protect Rhode Island’s communities from the devastating epidemic of gun violence.”
“I am proud of our state leaders and advocacy community for demanding and accomplishing meaningful action to help mitigate the plague of gun violence,” said Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos. “The only way we can prevent another tragedy is through bold policies that prioritize lives and public safety. I want to thank all of the bill sponsors, the Senate president, the speaker, and governor for their steadfast commitment to passing and signing comprehensive gun safety legislation this year.”
The Rhode Island Police Chiefs’ Association (RIPCA) supports all efforts to save lives from gun violence, and the signing of these three bills will enhance existing gun laws in a manner that properly balances individual constitutional rights and public safety,” said Narragansett Police Chief Sean Corrigan, president of the Rhode Island Police Chiefs Association.
“Following the horrific mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde, in addition to the countless communities torn apart by gun violence, Rhode Island lawmakers have taken decisive action that will save lives,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “Our grassroots army of volunteers have fought for years to help make this progress possible. We’re so grateful for the leadership of Governor McKee, Speaker Shekarchi, Senate President Ruggerio, Attorney General Neronha and all the gun sense champions in the Rhode Island legislature for passing these lifesaving laws.”
“It has taken 10 years of hard work and collaboration to build the support needed for these three lifesaving bills to pass. Together, with dozens of campaign partners, thousands of advocates, the majority of the General Assembly and all of our general officers, we have committed to creating policy that saves lives and protects our families, children and communities from further gun violence. Collectively, we have unprecedented power and momentum to continue to strengthen Rhode Island’s gun violence prevention laws. To anything less is not an option,” said Sydney Montstream-Quas, Board Chair, RI Coalition Against Gun Violence.
For more information, contact:
Meredyth R. Whitty
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903
Lt. Governor's Office
Secretary of State
Link to Public Records Request