Rhode Island governor to sign 3 gun control bills into law

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP): Rhode Island’s governor is signing three firearms bills into law on Tuesday, including a ban on magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.

The bills aim to reduce gun violence and prevent mass shootings like recent ones in New York and Texas. In addition to banning large-capacity gun magazines, the bills raise from 18 to 21 the state’s minimum age for buying rifles and shotguns, and prohibit loaded rifles and shotguns from being carried in public. Current state law already bars the sale or possession of handguns to people under 21.

The legislation passed the Rhode Island House and Senate this month.

Democratic Gov. Dan McKee has scheduled a bill signing ceremony for Tuesday at the State House with the state lawmakers who sponsored the bills, the state’s general officers and gun control advocates. McKee has called the legislative package “crucial” to strengthening the state’s gun safety laws in the aftermath of mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas.

While applauding these bills that passed, some lawmakers and advocates have said they’re disappointed that another proposal to ban assault weapons has not been scheduled for a vote and does not appear to have the same support among legislative leaders.

Some lawmakers had sought to exempt high-capacity magazines that Rhode Islanders already own from the ban, but the proposal failed. The state Republican Party said the ban will turn law-abiding citizens into criminals.

Those who already own large-capacity magazines or weapons will have 180 days to permanently alter them so they comply with the law, surrender them to police, or sell them to buyers in places where they remain legal. Law enforcement and military personnel are exempted.