BURRILLVILLE – With nearly a dozen bills before the Rhode Island General Assembly that aim to limit public access to firearms and ammunition, Burrillville Town Councilors reaffirmed their opposition to gun control legislation last month, voting unanimously on a resolution again dubbing the town a “Second Amendment Sanctuary.”
The vote mirrored action first taken in 2019 in opposition to state legislation councilors said is not in the best interest of Burrillville residents. The latest resolution restating the position lists several bills currently under consideration in the House and Senate.
Among them is Senate 2704, which would give the state attorney general sole authority to issue conceal carry permits and require a national criminal background check for such permits, also repealing provisions that currently allow minors to carry firearms.
House bill 7300 would make it a violation in Rhode Island to store or leave a firearm unsecured, punishable by a fine of $3,000. If a child is injured or killed as a result, the owner could face felony charges and up to five years in jail.
Senate bill 2734 would make it an automatic felony to store firearms unlocked, and Senate 2637 would increase the age for legal purchase of guns from 18 to 21, a change also proposed in companion legislation in the House.
House 7664 and Senate 2733 would disqualify individuals with prior convictions of possession of a firearm without a license from legally purchasing a gun, and House 6616 would prohibit the sale or transfer of ammunition by anyone who has not undergone a background check.
Additional legislation aims to eliminate semi-automatic weapons, and one bill, Senate 2224, would ban all possession of assault weapons.
All of the bills were heard before the judiciary committees in the respective chambers in late March, and held for further study.
Councilor Donald Fox, who brought the issue before the council in 2019, also requested the discussion in April.
“The General Assembly, as always, is looking to erode gun owner rights by death by a thousand cuts,” Fox said. “It’s my intent to once again call attention to the erosion of our Second Amendment rights.”
Councilors passed the resolution with little discussion.
“We find and declare that these gun restriction bills, if enacted by the Rhode Island General Assembly, infringe upon the rights of the people of the town of Burrillville and the people of the state of Rhode Island to keep and bear arms,” it states. “We are collectively opposed to the infringement of these rights established by our founding fathers.”
The resolution was forwarded to members of the General Assembly, as well as other Rhode Island cities and towns, requesting support.