Last evening, as a member of the House Judiciary Committee, I sat and listened to several hours of testimony regarding several bills that dealt with gun-control. In particular, I engaged with several individuals testifying in favor of banning CCW holders from carrying their firearms on school grounds. I asked for the reasoning for this legislation since licensed concealed weapon holders are not the individuals committing gun violence at our schools, mentally deranged criminals are the perpetrators of these horrific acts and I doubt these criminals will abide by this law.
As an elected-representative, our job is to vet all consequences and facts before passing a bill, and our job is not to pass “feel good” legislation that will have no practical effect on our society. As I asked for proof of the effectiveness of this legislation, not one supporter of the bill could offer me any evidence or a compelling reason to support this legislation and strip away constitutionally supported rights of law-abiding citizens.
We must face the fact that these horrific school shootings are happening in “gun-free zones” because these criminals know that there isn’t another lawful gun owner present to stop them from committing their carnage on our children and school staff.
The executive director of the RI Coalition Against Gun Violence, Linda Finn, accused me of ignoring the gun violence problem in our society. As a life-long law enforcement officer, I take great exception to her accusation and I can guarantee you that I have witnessed first-hand the devastating effect of gun violence far more than Ms. Finn would care to admit. And it is from these experiences as a police officer and detective that leads me to my decision not to support this legislation.
Rhode Island already has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation, I do not see how this piece of legislation will do anything but leave our children unprotected as sitting ducks in the school setting. The RICAGV are pumping out misinformation and playing to people’s fear and emotions and simply put, their arguments lack factual reasoning, evidence, and common sense.
I will always have an open mind about tackling gun violence, especially in regards to the safety of children, but I will not be manipulated into stripping constitutional rights due to a lack of factual evidence. Lots of “what if’s” were spoken at the hearing, except for this one: “If a school shooter goes to your child’s school, would you rather have the shooter able to freely roam the halls because the school is a gun-free zone, or would you rather have a lawfully armed individual who may be able to stop the carnage present?
As a retired law enforcement officer living in this dangerous world of ours, I’d rather not strip any possible school-shooting protections from our schools in the event the unthinkable occurs in Rhode Island