FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, May 16, 2022

CONTACT: Pete Bilderback, RICAGV Board Vice-Chair,

Three Back-to-Back Mass Shootings

Before we even had time to express our condolences to the victims, families, and community members in Buffalo, where a white supremacist gunman in military gear killed ten Black Americans and injured three others, we had another mass shooting in downtown Milwaukee that left 17 people wounded. Then another four were critically injured and one died at the hands of a gunman in a church in suburban Southern California.

We’re exhausted. We’re heartbroken. Any life lost to gun violence is a tragedy, but we are particularly disturbed by the racially motivated murder of ten Black Americans in Buffalo. This is exactly the kind of white supremacist terrorist violence we have been warning Rhode Island lawmakers that our state is vulnerable to. As reported by The Providence Journal in March, there has been a dramatic increase in white supremacist activity in Rhode Island over the past two years. Black, Jewish, Muslim, non-white immigrants and LGBTQ+ communities have increasingly become targets of hate crimes in Rhode Island.

No one law can prevent mass shootings, but there is a package of bills before the Rhode Island legislature that will make our state safer and less likely to experience a tragic mass shooting. We call on the House and Senate Judiciary Committees to immediately pass bills out of committee that would limit magazine capacity to ten rounds (HB 6614/SB 2653), ban the sale and possession of assault weapons (HB 6615/SB 2224), ensure safe storage of firearms (HB 7300/SB 2734), raise the age to purchase long guns and ammunition to 21 (HB 7457/SB 2637) and make it unlawful to carry a loaded long gun in public (HB 7358/SB 2825) so that they can be passed by the legislature and signed into law by the Governor.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Buffalo and others impacted by recent mass shootings. We implore Rhode Island’s legislators to take action now so that we don’t have to pray for future victims of mass shootings in Rhode Island.