The Providence City Council is asking the state General Assembly to pass legislation allowing cities and towns to regulate the sale of firearms, thus allowing the city to implement a ban.
Rhode Island's General Assembly previously rejected a motion to allow local control over gun sales, and the Legislature does not meet again until 2014.
Note that the Providence resolution is just that. It is not an ordinance and has no enforcement power. It is a wish-list for the future ability to institute a ban.
The proposal was sponsored by Council Majority Leader Seth Yurdin.
“Things like revolvers, single-shot rifles and shotguns are not affected by the ban,” Yurdin said. “Those are suitable for home defense or hunting."
It’s not clear if Yurdin’s plan would confiscate weapons-- or just outlaw the transfer or sale of semi-autos. But it already has sparked sales of both firearms and ammunition chambered by semi-automatic rifles and pistols.
Now, you may say that such an idea would never win favor in your town.
But consider this: The same day (Jan. 3) that the Providence City Council passed its resolution against semi-automatic firearms, it also became illegal to sell flavored cigars and cigarettes in the city.
Providence officials passed the ordinance after deciding that tobacco companies often market fruit-, chocolate- or candy-flavored tobacco products to young smokers.
So if Providence can pass a chocolate-flavored cigarette ban, I wouldn’t bet against something as silly as a blanket ban of semi-automatic firearms.
- Dr. Gatling