Debate over guns in RI schools brews at state house

 By Matt Blanchette


Over 3,000 Rhode Islanders are licensed and permitted to carry guns wherever they go, including onto school grounds and into a school building.

But a new law that’s being proposed would change that. Advocates for both sides of the gun debate shared comments for hours at the state house last night as three gun related bills are being proposed in this year’s session.

The first is simple, no firearms on school grounds. Lisa Pagano lost her brother, a Cranston firefighter, to gun violence, and has a 12 year old child.

She questions why anyone, including teachers and staff are able to bring loaded weapons to a place with learning children.

“We don’t know why they applied for the conceal carry. We don’t know their psychological well being. We know they are not trained as much as police officers are so I am not comfortable having my son sit in a classroom where there is a loaded firearm,” Pagano said.

  Richard August is among the over 3,000 registered gun carriers in Rhode Island. He says he trained to use his weapon, and isn’t dangerous.

“There may come a time when I feel i need to have it because of some business I am on, and if I have to visit my daughter who is a teacher or pick up my grand kids, I don’t want to be in a position where someone thinks I am a threat and calls police,” August said. “I am not a threat. I am not going to lose control of my fire arm.”

The Rhode Island coalition against gun violence rallied at the state house Thursday to promote their side of the issues, which was held for further study after the long meeting last night.

Simultaneously there is another bill being proposed right now that would prevent anyone under a restraining order or convicted of domestic violence to possess a gun.

And one to limit magazine’s to 10 rounds.