Buried in a report by the Providence Journal on Rhode Island gun control efforts is a remark by a lobbyist for the Rifle & Revolver Association that underscores the sentiment of gun owners nationwide.
“Right now,” said Brenda Jacob with the RIRRA, “gun owners feel like we’re being proven guilty for crimes we don’t have any intention of committing.”
It’s essentially the same thing gun owners have been saying from Maine to California as the gun prohibition lobby and anti-gun-rights politicians call for increased gun control measures, further ratcheting down on rights protected by the Second Amendment.
In Rhode Island, the smallest state in the nation, all five statewide office holders appeared at a press event Tuesday to call for passage of such measures as a ban on so-called “large capacity magazines” and so-called “assault weapons,” to prohibiting concealed carry of firearms on school grounds. The newspaper said Gov. Dan McKee was joined by Attorney General Peter Nerohha, Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos, General Treasurer Seth Magaziner and Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea to support the tougher gun control proposals.
Jacob was reportedly in the crowd of onlookers.
The Journal story recalled a March debate by the state House Judiciary Committee during which a couple of lawmakers pointed to the inherent problems with gun control proposals.
Republican Rep. David Place asked how the legislation would have prevented a tragedy such as Sandy Hook Elementary neighboring Connecticut, only to be told the point of the bills is that “people will have less access to those guns.”
But Democrat Rep. Julie Casimiro was quoted observing, “I am not a gun owner. I don’t want to see guns in schools. I don’t think they belong in schools (but) I don’t see how this bill would stop a school shooting.”
And she added how someone who would commit such a crime “is not worried about breaking a law.”
Back in March, gun rights lobbyist Jacob penned an Op-Ed for the Journal in which the opening paragraph illustrated the perennial problem facing gun owners.
“When you hear about guns,” she wrote, “it involves a horrific crime or tragedy. No one is against gun violence more than gun owners. Coping with the sadness we feel for the families living through tragedy, we watch the relentless victimization of victims and families by the anti-gun movement, who use them to further their agenda. Then comes the onslaught of finger pointing and rhetoric, blaming gun owners for a crime they did not commit.”
She further reported that during the past five years, the state saw more than 155,000 firearm purchases, of which an estimated 40 percent were women and 58 percent were African Americans. Jacob said gun owners are valuable to the state thanks to the millions of dollars in gun and ammunition excise taxes that come to the state.
“A National Shooting Sports Foundation study in 2019 found that gun owners in Rhode Island generated $134,871,000 for the local economy,” Jacob wrote.
There is time remaining for this year’s legislative session to move the gun control measures, and the question lawmakers will have to answer is whether these proposals will do what they are supposed to, or only make it appear that something is being done when nothing will really be accomplished.