RI committee approves Red Flag bill, bump stock ban amid protests
By John Krinjak
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) -- Two bills designed to prevent gun violence unanimously passing the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday night.
At least 300 opponents of gun control measures packed the rotunda and House chambers as the votes were taken.
"Criminals are going to find a way to get a weapon one way or another. Taking it out of law-abiding citizens isn't doing anything to help that," said Shaun Labbe of Riverside.
"I'm a firm believer in the Constitution, and I feel like if we keep on letting the government tell us what to do instead of the other way around like it's supposed to be-we're in charge of the government," said Stephanie Calise.
The Red Flag law would give judges the power to take guns away from people who are deemed by police to be a danger to themselves or others.
The bump stock ban--already law in Massachusetts--would make it illegal to own or use a rapid fire device, or bump stock, on a semi automatic weapon.
"I hope we can continue moving forward putting in place common sense gun violence laws," said Kim Ciegelmayer, a volunteer with the Rhode Island Coalition Against Violence.
A small group of supporters of these bills gathered, too--among them, local high school students like Jenna Carmichael from Toll Gate High School.
"It's not about taking away guns, it's about adding regulations and it's about making it safer with guns in the picture already," said Carmichael.
But gun rights advocates disagree, and say despite zero votes against these bills in committee, they'll be back with their own votes in November.
"It's an election year. Earlier they were chanting our votes count. And they do. There are gun advocates across the state," said Will Sousa Grapentine.
"Hashtag remember in November. This is our time to take it back," said Calise.
The two bills now move on to the full House of Representatives.