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Firearm Storage Requirements Set to Become Law in Rhode Island

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Rhode Island lawmakers have passed a new bill that mandates the safe storage of firearms, which is now awaiting Governor Daniel McKee’s signature, expected later this week.

The legislation, approved on Thursday, requires that all firearms be stored in a locked container or equipped with a tamper-resistant mechanical lock or similar safety device when not in use by the owner or an authorized user. Proponents of the bill argue that it aims to prevent unauthorized access and accidental discharges, aligning Rhode Island’s laws with those of neighboring Massachusetts and Connecticut. Opponents of the bill cite the fact that it criminalizes otherwise legal citizens and is another example of government overreach into the private lives of citizens.

Senator Pamela Lauria, a sponsor of the bill, defended the legislation by comparing it to other safety regulations meant to protect children, such as car seat laws and insurance mandates for pediatric cancer coverage.

She was then quoted by NECN as she recited an oft-repeated and inaccurate statistic that has become the GREAT LIE of anti-gun politicians who believe if you repeat a lie enough, people will believe it’s true. Or as the Seinfeld character George Costanza once said in a famous scene, “It is not a lie, if you yourself believe it.”

Costanze, er Lauria, was quoted as saying:

“But gun violence, not cancer or car collisions, is the leading cause of death for children, and that’s unacceptable when we have the tools to decrease its occurrence. This is the seat belt law for responsible gun ownership.”

It is the leading cause of death among children if children include the 19-year-old gangbangers killing each other and robbing old ladies.

With all of that said, however, safe gun storage is a responsibility of every gun owner as every injury or death that is the result of either an intentional or unintentional shooting by someone who shouldn’t have been able to access a firearm is indeed tragic. We should all strive to prevent such incidents. But if we are going to pass laws, let’s at least deal in facts, not simply add more icing to the cake in order to potentially criminalize Joe Citizen.

Under the new law, the penalties for non-compliance include a civil fine of up to $250 for the first offense and up to $1,000 for a second offense. Subsequent violations could result in a prison sentence of up to six months and a fine of up to $500.

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