RICAGV Press Release

Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence Announces Endorsements for the 2020 General Assembly Election

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, July 27, 2020

CONTACT: Linda Finn, Executive Director
(401) 258-6851 ~ linda@ricagv.org

Providence, Rhode Island (July 27, 2020) — RICAGV endorsed candidates support reducing injuries and death from gun violence in Rhode Island and support policies banning the sale and use of large-capacity magazines, banning the sale and use of military-style assault weapons, making sure only law enforcement officers are allowed to carry firearms on K-12 school properties, and strengthening our licensing and storage laws.

The Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence has endorsed 60 candidates in the upcoming elections – 37 candidates in the House and 23 in the Senate.

Our Coalition has been working to save lives from gun violence since 2013. Our partner organizations have grown to 115 organizations representing over 120,000 Rhode Islanders. Over a dozen of our partners are youth-led groups and others encompass medical, faith, social service, arts, and education organizations.

Legislative successes this year include passing a bill that bans the sale and use of ghost guns and 3-D printed guns and another bill that ensures hometown Police Chiefs review new gun purchases. These successes are due to the increasing numbers of legislators who not only support but strongly advocate for these bills. For the first time, there were 42 co-sponsors in the House and 21 in the Senate on our top priority legislation to ban high capacity magazines. The high-capacity magazine bill did not get hearings due to the pandemic this year which makes it increasingly important to re-elect champions and elect new supporters to continue the momentum.

A March 2020 poll of Rhode Island voters found that nearly two-thirds of respondents follow gun safety issues and they consider a candidate’s stand on gun safety issues when they vote. There is majority support for a number of proposals including:

  • Banning large-capacity magazines – 71.5 %
  • Banning military-style assault weapons- 70.5 %
  • 88.3% indicated that they support licensing for handgun owner
  • 77.2 % support registration of rifles and shotguns

Rhode Islanders support these policy initiatives, and with the alarming increase in gun sales across the country and here in Rhode Island in response to the COVID-19 crisis, our work is more urgent than ever. A March 20th letter from the RI Police Chiefs’ Association indicated that the Warwick and Richmond police departments were overrun with firearm applications during the month of March. In April, Rhode Island had the highest percentage increase, year-over-year of background checks for gun purchases in the country.

As we have seen in the recent November 2019 elections in Virginia, gun safety is a top issue for voters and voters decided, by large margins, on candidates based upon their position on gun issues. This issue topped jobs and the economy, and health care. We know that Rhode Islanders overwhelmingly support gun safety issues and we want to continue to support our champions in both the house and senate on these issues.

RICAGV will be issuing other endorsements in Federal and citywide races shortly.