BURRILLVILLE – Members of the Town Council voted unanimously to declare Burrillville a “Second Amendment Sanctuary Town,” Wednesday night, saying that the resolution comes in reaction to legislation passed in Providence that often is not in the best interest of Burrillville residents.
“For far too long in Rhode Island, as we’ve seen with other legislation, you have progressive creep in this state,” said Councilor Donald Fox, who sponsored the legislation. “We have to fight to maintain our constitutional rights and I am tired of it. I believe now is the time to begin pushing back.”
The resolution states that the town will support “the Burrillville Police Department to exercise sound discretion when enforcing laws impacting the rights of citizens under the second amendment,” and that “the Burrillville Town Council will not appropriate funds for capital construction of building space or purchase of storage systems to store weapons seized pursuant to the requirements set forth in any legislation if such bill is enacted by the Rhode Island General Assembly and/or for the purpose of enforcing any other law that unconstitutionally infringes upon the right of the People of the Town of Burrillville to keep and bear arms.”
“Most people don’t own weapons and don’t know how to shoot them, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t support this,” said Councilman Raymond Trinque. “They’ll chip away our constitutional rights one at a time and they’ll eventually get to you.”
“This is a right that was given to us by the constitution,” said Trinque. “We have to fight for each other’s rights.”
Fox said he developed the resolution with help from the town manager, town solicitor and police colonel. He said it comes in reaction to one party rule in the state that’s resulted in unfunded mandates and higher property taxes for residents.
“We’re the least competitive. We’re the highest taxed,” Fox said.
He also compared the gradual chipping away of rights with repressive governments he’s dealt with in his cashmere business, including the former Soviet Union.
“I’ve seen first hand what a government will do to disarm its population,” he said.
Councilor Dennis Anderson added an amendment to the legislation emphasizing that it only applies to those who already have the right to bear arms.
“I support that we should be defending the rights of the law-abiding citizens,” said Anderson. “They are not the problem. That’s the group we’re defending.”
Fox said the legislation speaks to unfunded mandates as well.
“I think this will draw a line in the sand,” he said.
The resolution was passed unanimously, and councilors voted to send it to other communities in the state for support.
Full text of the resolution is copied below.
“Second Amendment Sanctuary Town”
Whereas, the Town of Burrillville Town Council pursuant to Rhode Island statute and the Town of Burrillville Charter, is vested with the authority of administering the affairs of the Town of Burrillville, RI and
Whereas, the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, adopted in 1791 as part of the Bill of Rights, protects the inalienable and individual right of the people to keep and bear arms, and
Whereas, the United States Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S.570 (2008), affirmed an individual’s right to possess firearms, unconnected with service in a militia, for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home, and
Whereas, the United States Supreme Court in McDonald v. Chicago, 561 U.S. 742(2010), affirmed that the right of an individual to “keep and bear arms,” as protected under the Second Amendment, is incorporated by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and is applicable to the states, and
Whereas, the United States Supreme Court in United States v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174(1939), opined that firearms that are part of ordinary military equipment, or with use that could contribute to the common defense are protected by the Second Amendment, and
Whereas, Article I, Section 22 of the Rhode Island Constitution provides that “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”; and
Whereas, Article I, Section 6 of the Rhode Island Constitution provides that “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, papers and possessions, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated; and no warrant shall issue, but on complaint in writing, upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation and describing as nearly as many as may be, the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.”; and
Whereas, Rhode Island gun sales already require in-state residency, background checks, an eight-day waiting period and a “Blue Card” [RI Department of Environmental Management Pistol/Revolver Certification] for handgun purchases; and prohibits all gun purchases
- on the behalf of another person,
- or for anyone under indictment or convicted of a felony or any crime for which the judge could imprison said person for more than one year.
- or for anyone who is a fugitive from justice,
- or for any unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug or any controlled substance regardless of whether it has been legalized or decriminalized for medicinal or recreational purposes,
- or for anyone adjudicated as a mental defective OR has ever been committed to a mental institution,
- or for anyone who has been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions,
- or for anyone who is subject to a court order restraining said person from harassing, stalking, or threatening their child or an intimate partner or child of such partner,
- or for anyone who has been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence,
- or for anyone who has renounced their United States citizenship,
- or for anyone who is an alien illegally or unlawfully in the United States, and
Whereas, it is the desire of the Burrillville Town Council to declare its support of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and to the provisions of the Rhode Island Constitution which protect Burrillville Citizens’ inalienable and individual right to keep and bear arms, and
Whereas, the Burrillville Town Council Members each took an oath to support and defend the United States Constitution, the Rhode Island Constitution, and the laws of the State of Rhode Island which are not deemed unconstitutional by a court of competent jurisdiction, and the Charter of the Town of Burrillville.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Burrillville Town Council that the Town of Burrillville be, and hereby is, declared to be a “Second Amendment Sanctuary Town.”
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Burrillville Town Council affirms its support for the Burrillville Police Department to exercise sound discretion when enforcing laws impacting the rights of citizens under the second amendment.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Burrillville Town Council will not appropriate funds for capital construction of building space or purchase of storage systems to store weapons seized pursuant to the requirements set forth in any legislation if such bill is enacted by the Rhode Island General Assembly and/or for the purpose of enforcing any other law that unconstitutionally infringes upon the right of the People of the Town of Burrillville to keep and bear arms.
Adopted as a resolution this 24th day of April 2019
John F. Pacheco III, President
Burrillville Town Council
Louise R. Phaneuf
Burrillville Town Clerk