First public hearing on gun control at RI statehouse

By: Alexandra Cowley

The first public hearing on gun control is happening Tuesday night in front on the house judiciary committee. There are 15 bills on the agenda and hundreds of people on both sides of the hot button issue ready to speak their mind.

Gun rights advocates gathered outside the Rhode Island statehouse before the public hearing on gun control legislation.

Representative Doreen Costa is in favor of just 2 of the 15 bills on the agenda. She's fighting to secure the rights of gun owners.

“This is probably going to be the longest night of the session I can almost bet the house on it, were obeying the laws so you need to start going after the bad guys and leave the good guys alone,” Costa said.

There will be a lot of public testimony Tuesday night from both sides.

22–year–old Craig Stockwell is prepared to speak in front of the house judiciary committee.

“I really don't want to be convicted as a felon by the state of Rhode Island just because I want to exercise my right to keep and bear arms,” said Stockwell.

Gun control is personal for Reverend Eugene Dyszlewski, who has to deal with the funerals for victims of gun violence. He will also be testifying Tuesday night.

“We really would like to not have to bury another child. The law abiding gun manufacturers, it's not their fault. The law abiding people who sell guns, the merchants, it's not their fault. The law abiding people who own guns, it's not their fault. So how are the bad guys getting guns? Somebody is misbehaving and there has to be some sort of sensible regulation in order to address that,” said Dyszlewski.

The hearing could go all night to allow everyone who signed up an opportunity to be heard. The last hearing on gay marriage went until 5 in the morning.

(C) WLNE-TV 2014