Rhode Island House approves gun control legislation

In an image from Capitol TV, the Rhode Island House meets in a rare, Friday session June 10, 2022 to take up several gun-related bills.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The Rhode Island House approved bills Friday that would ban firearm magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, raise from 18 to 21 the minimum age for buying guns, and prohibit loaded rifles and shotguns from being carried in public.

The legislation now heads to the Senate for votes next week, The Providence Journal reported.

The bills gained momentum after recent mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, and had cleared a key House committee just the day before.

Opponents failed to attach exemptions to the legislation during the three-hour debate, the Journal reported.

One failed exemption would have grandfathered in high-capacity magazines that Rhode Islanders already own. Instead, they would have 180 days to convert them, surrender them or sell them in places where they remain legal.

Democratic Attorney General Peter Neronha warned that “the addition of a grandfather clause would render this legislation unenforceable and functionally meaningless.”

Democratic Rep. Charlene Lima, the deputy House speaker, elicited cheers from gun rights advocates in the House gallery when she said, “The criminals say thank you,” the Journal reported.