Assembly approves large-capacity magazine ban
Bill now headed to governor’s desk
STATE HOUSE – With a vote in the Senate today, the General Assembly has approved legislation sponsored by Rep. Justine Caldwell and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairwoman Cynthia A. Coyne to ban large-capacity gun magazines, which have enabled mass shootings including the one three weeks ago in Uvalde, Texas. The legislation will now go to the governor, who has stated that he will sign it.
“High-capacity magazines have no legitimate purpose for hunting or self-defense. They enable shooters to unleash torrents of bullets and inflict maximum harm in mere seconds, making them a tool of the trade for mass shootings, drug trafficking and gang violence. They put the public, law enforcement officers and the user in greater harm. Making high capacity magazines illegal to sell and possess will enhance public safety,” said Chairwoman Coyne (D-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence).
The legislation (2022-H 6614A, 2022-S 2653) prohibits the possession, sale or transfer of any feeding device capable of holding, or readily able to be extended to hold, more than 10 rounds of ammunition to be fed continuously into a semi-automatic firearm.
“Uvalde. Buffalo. Sandy Hook. Parkland. Las Vegas. Orlando. Sutherland Springs. Boulder. Aurora… the list goes on. High-capacity magazines have enabled mass shooters to commit the most devastating, appalling, and most lethal attacks on the public in recent decades. With this bill, we are finally saying we will not tolerate these dangerous weapons,” said Representative Caldwell (D-Dist. 30, East Greenwich, West Greenwich) “Our neighboring states have already prohibited high-capacity magazines, and we should join them in refusing to accept the risks they present to Rhode Islanders.”
Under the bill, those who already own large-capacity magazines or weapons that hold more than 10 rounds will have 180 days to comply with the law by either permanently altering the weapon so it can no longer hold more than 10 rounds, turning it into their local or state police, or transferring or selling it to a federally licensed firearm dealer or person or outside the state who is lawfully entitled to own or possess it. The bill provides exceptions for current and retired law enforcement officers and active duty military or National Guard members.
According to Everytown for Gun Safety, which seeks to reduce gun violence, mass shootings involving a firearm equipped with a high-capacity magazine resulted in nearly five times as many people shot, more than twice as many fatalities, and nearly 14 times as many injuries per incident on average compared to those that did not involve the use of high-capacity magazines. Ten states and Washington, D.C., regulate high-capacity magazines. Those states experience mass shootings at a far lower rate than states like Texas that don’t regulate magazine capacity, according to the organization.
The legislation passed the Senate on a 25-11 vote today. It passed the House Friday, 43-26.