General Assembly passes legislation requiring attorney general to report on cases involving firearms
STATE HOUSE — The General Assembly today passed legislation introduced by Rep. Stephen M. Casey (D-Dist. 50, Woonsocket) and Senate Minority Whip Jessica de la Cruz (R-Dist. 23, North Smithfield, Burrillville, Glocester) that would require the office of the attorney general to issue a report containing the total number of cases with respect to charges involving a firearm in all Rhode Island courts.
The measure (2021-S 5727A, 2021-S 0119A) also calls for the report to include a list of cases with respect to charges involving a firearm which have been disposed of during the calendar year as well as the disposition of each case, the court docket number and the charge or charges associated with it. The bill amends an existing law requiring the attorney general to make annual reports on crimes involving guns that was sponsored by Representative Casey in 2017.
“I feel it’s very important that we make legislative decisions based on fact,” said Representative Casey. “This is an important way for this law to evolve, giving us more specific information about how guns are used in crimes. The people of Rhode Island deserve the truth. The more information we have — the types of guns used, whether serial numbers have been obliterated, whether ghost guns are being used — will help us to better understand the facts when crafting legislation.”
Among the specifics, the legislation calls for the reports to show whether the firearm at issue in each case was a rifle, semi-automatic rifle, shotgun, revolver, semi-automatic handgun, or miscellaneous firearm.
“We hear national statistics thrown about year after year, but we don’t really have statistics for here in Rhode Island,” said Senator de la Cruz. “We need to legislate based on fact, so we want to know the model and the caliber of the firearm involved, and if a firearm was stolen or altered by the perpetrator of a crime. We have to sift through the questionable and sometimes competing facts that we tend to hear in committee meetings. Without these specific facts, we cannot do our jobs as legislators.”
The measure now moves to the governor’s office.
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