To the Editor:
In her inaugural address, Governor Raimondo reiterated her call for a ban on so-called “assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.” This notwithstanding that the report of her hand picked working group on gun safety could not agree on a ban on “military style rifles.”
The “working group” was comprised of 40 members and three of the governor’s staffers who were assigned for support. Not a single representative of the Second Amendment community was on the group. The co-chairs were an emergency room doctor who heads up an anti-firearms physicians’ organization and a former state police officer who previously testified in support of gun control bills.
The agenda of the group was driven by the governor’s chief legal counsel, Adi Goldstein, who has been rewarded with the number two position in the new attorney general’s office.
The report did recommend a ban on ammunition feeding devices holding more than ten bullets. Why ten is the magic number remains a mystery. Does a magazine holding, say, 12 rounds make the gun 20 percent more lethal?
Colorado allows magazines holding up to 15 rounds; New York says the limit is seven; Vermont decrees that 15 bullets in an handgun is okay but you cannot have more than 10 in a rifle.
Connecticut allowed those owning high capacity magazines to keep them so long as they do not load more than ten rounds in them. Will a madman heading for a school or shopping mall to wreak havoc observe the magazine limitation?
With a modicum of practice a person can swap magazines in less than two seconds. Does anyone seriously believe two seconds is significant in a mass shooting scenario?
Governor Raimondo has made it clear she is opposed to common sense school security measures such as metal detectors because she thinks they would frighten students. It doesn’t seem to bother them when they go to the airport for a flight to Disney World or to the State House for a class trip.
Of course, the idea of armed security personnel in schools sets the hair of fire of the anti-gun groups such as Moms Demand Action (funded by multi-billionaire Michael Bloomberg) and the Coalition Against Gun Violence (funded by the Hassenfeld Foundation among others).
The commission formed after the shooting at the Parkland, Florida high school issued a 458-page report just before year’s end. One of the recommendations is that teachers who receive special training be permitted to carry concealed guns in school. These would supplement deputy sheriffs and “guardians” who also receive training in school shooting scenarios.
Predictably, a member of the Broward County school board, Robin Bateman, said she doubts the board would support this recommendation. Ironically, current Florida law permits non-classroom personnel such as administrators, librarians and counselors as well as active duty military and ROTC instructors to be armed. It isn’t clear whether these persons need any special training to “pack heat” in school.
Some anti-gunners concede that armed school resource police officers are acceptable. The Stoneman Douglas Commission chaired by the sheriff of Pinellas County concluded that seven Broward County deputy sheriffs including the school’s resource officer “who arrived during the shooting but appeared to fail to take effective action.” As a result of the shooting the Broward County Sheriff’s Department required all school deputies to take a week of active shooter and tactical training and be issued carbines as well as handguns. This implies that they lacked that training and equipment prior to the tragedy.
The report acknowledges that funding for training and arming personnel is an issue. The commission recommended that school districts impose a special tax to pay for security measures.
Will Rhode Island’s political leaders consider the recommendations of the Broward County Commission that included parents of children slain at Stoneman Douglas High School or that of a “working group” with a clear anti-firearms bias?
Richard J. August