Rhode Island Governor signs bills banning guns on school grounds, straw purchases


Semi-automatic handguns are displayed at shop in New Castle, Pa. The number of people stopped from buying guns though the U.S. background check system hit an all-time high of more than 300,000 last year amid a surge of firearm sales, according to new records obtained by the group Everytown for Gun Safety. The FBI numbers provided to The Associated Press show the background checks blocked nearly twice as many gun sales in 2020 as in the year before. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee signed two bills Monday putting new protections from gun violence into law.

One bill aims to keep guns out of the hands of people who legally are not allowed to own them.

The legislation creates a statewide ban on “straw purchases,” where someone buys a firearm and then gives or sells it to someone who can’t legally purchase the gun on their own.

The second bill bans people from carrying guns on school grounds, with some exceptions for school security and retired law enforcement.

Legislators and those at the bills signing event pointed to recent shootings both in Rhode Island and across the country as evidence for the need for these types of measures, including a deadly shooting that occurred in Providence on Sunday.

“It makes sense to create laws to keep guns out of the hands of people who cannot and should not possess one,” McKee said. “It makes sense to ban guns on school property and on school buses.”

The General Assembly reviewed several pieces of gun safety legislation and these two were passed by both chambers.

Second Amendment advocates say they’re against most of the gun safety bills before the General Assembly this year. They are calling on McKee to instead put resources in inner cities to help prevent the problem with youth before they resort to gun violence.

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