RI lawmakers unveil gun-control package, including ban on semiautomatic assault weapons
The bills, outlined in a 2:30 p.m. news conference at the State House, include:
* Bans on high-capacity magazines and semiautomatic assault weapons after July 1. Exempted are antique firearms, inoperable weapons, rifles or shotguns unable to hold high-capacity magazines, and firearms manufactured before July 1, 1963. Current owners are grandfathered in, although they may sell such weapons only to buyers outside Rhode Island or to someone authorized to possess them.
* Creation of a task force to guide the state in submitting records about mental health and substance abuse to the FBI's background check system. The task force must report back to the governor and General Assembly by Jan. 1, with legislation that will bring the state into compliance.
* Creation of a relief board for those denied firearms based on mental-health or substance-abuse backgrounds. Setting up this board makes the state eligible for federal funds to help it comply with the FBI system.
* Granting the attorney general's office the sole power to approve conceal-carry permits. Under current law, local police chiefs also have the authority, though less discretion.
* Authorizing lengthy sentences to straw purchasers and anyone who gives a gun to a juvenile, who uses it a violent crime.
* Increasing the penalty for not reporting lost or stolen firearms.
* Barring anyone from carrying a rifle or shotgun, openly or concealed, anywhere in public, except for those who are hunting or target shooting.
The attorney general's office has already introduced bills making it illegal to possess a firearm with an obliterated serial number and also barring juveniles from possessing a firearm, unless a parent, guardian or supervising adult is present.