2018 Supporter Action Plan

Please bookmark/favorite this page and take at least one action daily!

June 15th is the expected end of the legislative session.

#1: Call and Leave Messages with Leadership

All messages are tallied, whether taken by a staffer or left on voicemail. The staff is very pleasant and they are well-prepared to quickly record your message. 

Speaker Nicholas Mattiello
(401) 222-2466

  • Safe Schools Act – H7591
  • Assault Weapon Ban – H7766
  • High Capacity Magazine Ban – H7645

Senate President Dominick Ruggerio
(401) 222-6655

  • Safe Schools Act – S2289
  • Assault Weapon Ban – S2493
  • High Capacity Magazine Ban – S2319

#2: Email Leadership and Local Legislators

Creates Syngery in the General Assembly: Just as with any marketing campaign, reaching critical mass among an audience is key. Receiving emails everyday is not just a great way to create this critical mass, it also counters the hundreds of disinformation emails from 2nd Amendment folks.

Remember:  lawmakers simply don’t have to the time to sort through every email; they generally make a mental note (usually skewed as they see the issue) on how many they get from each side – so ONE OR TWO emails is not enough, it’s crucial to keep emailing every day!

Email Speaker Nicholas Mattiello and Senate President Dominick Ruggerio

No matter how much support any bill has, these two men hold the key to success. We need maximum pressure on them to get our bills to the floor for a vote!

Email your lawmakers to keep the pressure on.

By continuing to urge your local reps you help create buzz within the General Assembly, which pushes ALL on the fence lawmakers to “follow the herd,” particularly because this is an election year.

The Opposition Emails Everyday!

They are very good at amplifying their message far beyond their small numbers. They achieve this through a relatively small yet tenacious group (around 200 supporters, from our evaluation) who make it a daily task to email key lawmakers relentlessly.

They know that in reality our local reps make a mental note (accurately or not) of how many emails they get per side. 

#3: Write to Your Local Newspaper

A well-written letter to the editor goes a long way toward getting the FACTS in front of the public and creates terrific local buzz.

Recent Letters to Editors

Linda Finn, Published in NewportRI.com and ProJo, May 2018

We all have rights, not just gun owners

In the freewheeling article on gun rights in Monday’s Daily News (“In defense of gun rights”), it is good to hear that gun shop owners on the island respect the current laws and understand that having seven-day waiting periods, background checks and preventing those who are involuntarily committed to a mental health facility or drug treatment center for all transactions are good things. These are strong laws that do help prevent guns from getting into the wrong hands.

While Rhode Island does have some strong laws and law abiding gun owners, the article neglected to mention that there is no constitutional right in the United States or Rhode Island to own an AR-15 or semiautomatic assault weapon. At a recent House Judiciary hearing at the Statehouse, we heard Darin Goens, an out-of-state NRA lobbyist, claim “It’s not the guns, it’s not the good guys, it’s the psychos” that are responsible for gun violence. Yet he and the gun shop owners interviewed give no solutions to the prevalence of mass shootings or any rebuttal as to what can be done to prevent these individuals who often have no mental illness, but are instead just inherently violent or have an intent to harm from accessing firearms except for a shrug of the shoulders that these things are inevitable.

Goens mentioned several men who passed background checks, which he used as examples of law abiding citizens, who nonetheless went on to commit mass shootings. There is a disconnect between gun rights advocates saying that these individuals are “law abiding” just because they can pass a background check and the acts of violence they go on to commit.

And if individuals who end up committing mass murder are able pass background checks, maybe we need to look other factors? What Goens carefully neglected to mention is the fact that each of the individuals he cited in his testimony used a semi-automatic weapon in their rampage. None of them had been adjudicated by a court, nor was there a mechanism to screen them for any violent tendencies or intent.

All of these individuals used weapons and/or ammunition that would be banned from sale under SB2493 HB 7766 “Assault Weapon Ban of 2018” legislation introduced in the state House and Senate:

  • Jason Holmes used an AR-15 and a 12 gauge shot gun to kill 12 people and injure 70 in Aurora, Colorado.
  • Jared Laufner used a semi-automatic 9-mm Glock that held 30 rounds to kill 6 people and injure Congresswoman Gabby Gifford.
  • Stephen Paddock used 23 firearms, many modified semiautomatic weapons with bump stocks in the deadliest mass shooting in our country killing over 50 people and wounding over 500.
  • Seung Ho Cho killed 32 people using a 9-mm Glock semiautomatic pistol using 50-round, high-capacity magazines and carrying with him hundreds of rounds at Virginia Tech.
  • The San Bernardino shooters used semi-automatic pistols and rifles to kill 14 and injure 22.
  • The Sutherland Springs shooter used a Ruger AR-556 semiautomatic rifle with a 30-round magazine to kill 26 and injure 20.

If these individuals passed background checks and were still able to cause this kind of carnage, anguish and physical and psychological harm to so many, isn’t it time for us all to look for solutions? The most obvious is to ban the sale of assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines. There is no constitutional right to ownership of them and they are the clear common denominator in our most devastating gun violence incidents to date. Seven states and the District of Columbia already have banned them, including Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland, New York, Hawaii and New Jersey.

In a lawsuit that challenged its 20-year ban on assault weapons, U.S. District Court Judge William Young of Massachusetts wrote that the state’s ban on assault weapons and large-capacity magazines does not violate the right to bear arms under the Second Amendment, according to an article in The Boston Globe in April 2018. Gun owners have rights but so do the rest of us. We have a right be safe and we have a right to legislate who owns guns, what types of guns they own and where those guns can be carried. The Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence has 120 Partner organizations and represents over 120,000 Rhode Islanders. We will always adhere to our laws, but we also know that “we the people” can change them as well.

Linda Finn of Middletown is a former state representative and current president of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence.

Rosemary Stitt, published in RICentral.com, May 2018

No vote scheduled yet on common-sense gun measures

In mid-April, the Rhode Island House Judiciary Committee heard from both sides of the debate on proposed gun controls in Rhode Island. Yet with the legislative session set to end on June 30, no vote has been scheduled on several common sense measures, which if passed, would make our state immeasurably safer. Bills under consideration include the following:

Assault Weapons Ban – military-style weapons, like the AR-15, are made for the single purpose of killing as many people as possible in a short amount of time. An AR-15 was also used to kill 17 in the Parkland massacre, 58 people in Las Vegas, 49 in Orlando, 26 in Sutherland, Texas and 14 in San Bernardino. Under what logic are these weapons of war needed for civilian use, and specifically, why are they still legal in Rhode Island? Notably, back in March, Bishop Tobin of the Catholic Diocese of Providence tweeted: “It seems to me that private citizens shouldn’t be permitted to own assault rifles any more than they can own chemical weapons of mass destruction. How about a little common sense in this public debate?”

Safe Schools Act – Rhode Island is still one of only 4 states that allow any person with a concealed-carry permit to legally enter a school carrying a gun. This law currently still stands despite the fact that 24 school committees – including East Greenwich’ School Committee – and 10 municipal councils in RI, have already voted in support of common sense legislation to ban all guns in schools. Of further note, the Rhode Island Police Chiefs Association supports this bill. How comfortable would you be wondering whether the person sitting next to you at a school concert or middle-school graduation may be armed?

High Capacity Magazine Ban – 66 percent of all gun massacres in the US included high-capacity magazines, which are defined as magazines with more than 10 rounds (bullets). The current law means that ducks and deer are afforded more protection than humans as RI’s DEM regulations include a maximum of 5 rounds per weapon deer hunting and 3 for duck hunting. Contrast this with the sick fact that at Sandy Hook Elementary School, 20 small children were massacred in less than 5 minutes with a high capacity magazine weapon.

Since reduced capacity magazines directly reduce the risk of mass-killings, it seems like a “no-brainer” to support this bill. Current and former RI law enforacement officers also support this initiative while per a 2016 survey, 75 percent of Rhode Islanders support limiting magazines to 10 rounds.

Raising the age for purchase of a rifle or shotgun to 21 from the current age of 18 – why should a High-School Senior – or a person still too young by buy a beer – still be able to legally buy a gun?

If you support any or all of these measures, please call or email both House Speaker Mattiello rep-mattiello@rilegislature.gov and Senate President Ruggerio sen-ruggerio@rilegislature.gov to urge that these bills are voted on before the legislative session ends in June. The massacre that took place in Parkland, Florida, which similar to East Greenwich, is an affluent, destination community with enviable schools – and by a twist of sad irony was named Florida’s safest city in 2017 – proves that nowhere is safe from the epidemic of mass-shootings. Avoiding a vote on these bills is not acceptable when urgent, common-sense action is needed in Rhode Island.

Rosemary Stitt
East Greenwich

George Burman published in the ProJo April 2018

Armed insurrection another way of saying treason

In a March 29 (“AR-15 could be effective against tyrannical power”), a retired Army colonel supports the need for semi-automatic assault rifles in the event that we need to overthrow our own government. What hogwash. This attitude seems pervasive in much of redneck society, but when this is clearly expressed by an ex-U.S. military officer it is cause for alarm.

The author’s scholarship is totally lacking, and the letter neglects to mention the numerous tragic instances when insurgents with assault-style weaponry were wantonly slaughtered by more heavily armed tyrants, as occurred in the Warsaw ghetto during World War II, in Hungary in 1956, in Prague in 1968, as well as in Tibet, Grenada, Chile and other places.

The writer coyly states that he does not encourage the armed overthrow of our government. Well, aren’t we lucky. He also infers that the Second Amendment supports the right to armed insurrection, which it definitely does not. Armed militias were needed to protect the legally elected government and certainly not to defend against the government. Overthrowing the government is also known as treason.

Thank goodness the teenage protesters who filled our cities and streets on March 24 have more common sense than some adults who, unfortunately, didn’t learn civics or the U.S. Constitution while in uniform.

George Burman

The Providence Journal
75 Fountain Street
Providence, RI 02902-0050

Find Your Favorite Local Paper

Warwick Beacon
1944 Warwick Avenue
Warwick, RI 02889-2400

The Warwick Daily Times
P.O. Box 589
West Warwick, RI 02893-0589

Kent County Daily Times
P.O. Box 589
West Warwick, RI 02893-0589

Cranston Herald
1944 Warwick Ave.
Warwick, RI 02889

Newport Daily News
P.O. Box 420
Newport, RI 02840-0936

The Times
23 Exchange Street
Pawtucket, RI 02860

The Call
75 Main Street
Woonsocket, RI 02895

Westerly Sun
56 Main Street
Westerly, RI 02891-0520

Barrington Times
30 Cutler St., Suite 217
Warren, RI 02885

The Block Island Times
P.O. Box 278
Block Island, RI 02807

The Chariho Times
P.O. Box 620
Wyoming, RI 02898

The Charlestown Press
56 Main Street
Westerly, RI 02891-0520

The Valley Breeze
2190 Mendon Road, Suite 1
Cumberland, RI 02864-3830

Warren Times-Gazette
30 Cutler St. Suite 217
Warren, RI 02885

The Westerly-Pawcatuck Press
56 Main Street
Westerly, RI 02891-0520

The Westerly Times
1 Union Plaza
New London, CT 06320

The Wood River Press
56 Main Street
Westerly, RI 02891-0520

East Side Monthly
167 Valley St.
Providence, RI 02904

Federal Hill Gazette
55 Bradford Street
Providence, RI 02903

Brown Daily Herald
P.O. Box 2538
Providence, RI 02906

Foster Home Journal & Scituate Star
93 Winsor Road
Foster, RI 02825

Providence Monthly
167 Valley St.
Providence, RI 02903

Your Smithfield Magazine
P.O. Box 481
Greenville, RI 02828

The Coventry Courier
45 Reservoir Road, Box 8
Coventry, RI 02816

The East Greenwich Pendulum
P.O. Box 350
East Greenwich, RI 02818

East Providence Post
1027 Waterman Ave.
East Providence, RI 02914

The Jamestown Press
42 Narragansett Avenue
Jamestown, RI 02835

The Johnston Sun Rise
1944 Warwick Ave.
Warwick, RI 02889-2400

P.O. Box 420
Newport, RI 02840-0936

The Narragansett Times
212 Main Street, Unit #3
Wakefield, RI 02879

Newport This Week
33 Marlborough St.
Newport, RI 02840

North-East Independent
P.O. Box 244
North Kingstown, RI 02852-0244

North Providence Breeze
592 Putnam Pike
Greenville, RI 02828

Sakonnet Times
1701 Stafford Road, #1
East Side Crossings, RI 02878-2541

South County Independent
P.O. Box 5679
Wakefield, RI 02880

The Standard-Times
13 West Main Street
North Kingstown, RI 02852

The Providence Phoenix
150 Chestnut Street
Providence, RI 02903

Bristol Phoenix
P.O. Box 90
Bristol, RI 02809

Providence Business News
220 West Exchange St., Suite 210
Providence, RI 02903

American News
P.O. Box 743
Pawtucket, RI 02862

Rhode Island Catholic
(formerly The Providence Visitor)
184 Broad Street
Providence, RI 02903

The Jewish Voice & Herald
130 Sessions Street
Providence, RI 02906

Senior Digest
P.O. Box 74
Seekonk, MA 02771

Cape Verdean News
P.O. Box 3063
New Bedford, MA 02741

El Latino Expreso
10 Purchase St.
Fall River, MA 02722

Nuevos Horizontes
34 Sherwood Ave.
North Providence, RI 02911

O Jornal
10 Purchase Street
P.O. Box 1149
Fall River, MA 02722

Portuguese Times
P.O. Box 61288
New Bedford, MA 02746

The Providence American
131 Washington Street
Providence, RI 02903

Providence En Espanol
77 Eddy St. 4th Floor
Providence, RI 02903

Siglo 21
316 Essex St.Suite 305
Lawrence, MA 01840

In Newsweekly
450 Harrison Ave. Ste. 414
Boston, MA 02118