Arming RI Campus Police Vote Delayed - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather


Arming RI Campus Police Vote Delayed

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by Mark Curtis, ABC6 Chief Political Reporter

The plan to arm campus police officers at URI and Rhode Island's other public colleges, has been delayed.

The House Judiciary Committee was taking up the campus gun issue, Tuesday night but held it for further financial study.

Normally that means a bill is dead, but Chairwoman Edith Ajello insists it will soon get a vote. "The bill is still alive," she said.

The idea of arming campus police officers has been discussed for years, but the urgency was ratcheted up six weeks ago, when the URI campus was put on lock down.

At the time there were fears of a gunman on campus, but as it turned out, that was not true.

Still, it brought the idea of arming campus police, back to life.

State Rep. Doreen Costa (R-RI) said, "The officers at URI and other campuses,  they are trained police officers. God forbid if there was actually a gunman on the campus. They don't have time to react with pepper spray."

Right now Rhode Island is the only state in the nation that does not allow public campus police officers to carry guns.

A recent armed incident on campus will give the bill further urgency.

On Sunday, two URI students told police they were robbed at gunpoint on campus, just before midnight between Burnside and Aldrich halls.

So far police have not arrested anyone, but this will ad fuel to the gun debate.



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