To the Editor:
Gun violence as a public health crisis is complex; there is no simple solution that will eradicate gun violence.
However, there is evidence that states that have stronger gun laws and fewer guns have fewer gun deaths. I do not believe it’s a coincidence the RI has some of the strongest gun laws in the country and we were ranked 49th for gun related deaths in USA Today in 2018. The state laws that are passed have gone through proper legislative channels, often over the course of years and with much vetting and revision to ensure that they are constitutionally sound.
The Sanctuary Resolution being proposed in West Warwick serves no real purpose. Municipalities do not have authority to regulate firearms in Rhode Island due to preemption laws [Rhode Island General Laws section 11-47-58]. Also, law enforcement does not get to pick and choose what laws to enforce. They must enforce laws that have been enacted. I am curious as to whether the Town Council has asked Chief Knott and members of the West Warwick Police force to weigh in on this issue. Are members of our police department willing to abandon their oath to uphold the law in favor of this resolution? A resolution that is being proposed to towns across the state by We the People of RI for Second Amendment Sanctuary, a group that appears to be targeting towns based on their perceived susceptibility to pass the resolution.
I’m not in opposition to the Second Amendment, but I am strongly opposed to gun violence. I believe in enacting common sense gun laws. There are many avid hunters in my family. Both of my sons have participated in Scouting and been trained in rifle shooting. I’m not suggesting we ban all guns. However, I want us to approach the reality that the United States is one of the top six countries for gun violence with reason and an open mind. Solving this problem is not going to be easy, and it’s going to mean finding common ground. We cannot, in good conscience, stand by a Second Amendment that was written for muskets and pistols and continue to give our thoughts and prayers to the victims of AR-15’s.