“Julie’s Law”, created in honor of Westerly shooting victim, makes way to Senate floor
"Julie's Law" is the new name of a bill making its way through the Senate.
RHODE ISLAND (WLNE) – “Julie’s Law” is the new name of a bill making its way through the Senate.
The shooter was a disgruntled resident who had a history of mental illness and previous run-ins with Westerly Police. Despite that, he was able to purchase the gun used in the attack by going to a store in another town.
Following the tragedy, Westerly Police pushed lawmakers to create legislation that would stop another incident like this from happening again.
Julie’s Law would require all firearm applications to be forwarded to the police department in the city or town where the purchaser lives. The current law forwards applications to the police department in the city or town where the firearms store is.
“The police department where the individual resides knows the individual better than where the person purchases the weapon,” said Senate Minority Leader Dennis Algiere (R-District 38).
Algiere represents Charlestown, South Kingstown, and Westerly, which is his hometown. He said Westerly Police knew the shooter and would have prevented or slowed down his ability to obtain a firearm.
“[The bill] is a reasonable approach to correct an issue that was brought up as a result of this horrific incident,” said Algiere.
The Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony on the bill on Tuesday night.
In a surprise twist, the R.I. 2nd Amendment Coalition, which usually opposes all gun control legislation, testified as neutral in relation to the bill, and in fact, would like to see more background checks put in place.
“It still needs a lot of work,” said Frank Saccoccio, President of the R.I. 2nd Amendment Coalition.
He would like to see firearm applications sent to police departments in the purchaser’s hometown, as well as in the city or town where the store is.
He also thinks purchasers who moved in the last six months should be checked by police in the last five places they lived.
“We don’t want people moving from town to town to try and avoid a problem,” said Saccoccio.
The bill passed in committee and now heads to the full Senate for a vote. A similar bill passed in the House earlier this month.
©WLNE-TV/ABC 6 2020