Around New England

Rhode Island Governor Wants To Ban ‘Assault’ Rifles, Pistols

February 15, 2019

Rhode Island’s governor and attorney general are supporting a bill that would ban what it calls “assault weapons,” including certain semiautomatic rifles and pistols.

The bill would prohibit semiautomatic rifles that have “a fixed magazine capacity exceeding 10 rounds” or that can accept a detachable magazine and have at least one of several features, including “a pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon.”

It would also prohibit semiautomatic pistols that have at least one of several features, including “an ammunition magazine that attaches to the pistol outside of the pistol grip.”

Current owners could keep their guns, but would have to submit to a criminal background check aided by fingerprints.

Possessing such a weapon unlawfully would be punishable by up to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine, plus forfeiture of the weapon. The punishments could not be suspended by a judge after the first conviction.

The proposed bill comes on the heels of a report issued in October 2018 by a commission appointed by Governor Gina Raimondo, a Democrat, that recommended banning high-capacity magazines but did not recommend banning so-called assault weapons, according to the Providence Journal.

Governor Gina Raimondo, a Democrat, told the Providence Journal that people in Rhode Island support the proposed ban, but some Rhode Island legislators are skeptical of it.

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