PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The elementary school massacre in Newtown, Conn., is giving fresh momentum to efforts to strengthen firearm laws in Rhode Island.
Leaders in Providence want the General Assembly to ban semi-automatic weapons. Lawmakers have also vowed to look at gun access, mental health resources and other ways to prevent future tragedies.
The push has gun rights supporters playing defense, determined to protect the right to bear arms while acknowledging that the slaughter in next-door Connecticut has made an already delicate political debate especially sensitive.
State Rep. Teresa Tanzi says she'd like Rhode Island to ban high-capacity magazines and firearms like the one used in Newtown.
But State Rep. Michael Chippendale says he's wary of what he calls "knee-jerk" reactions and wants the state to look at improving mental health services.