“As a parent of a Westerly school child, are you aware that although guns are not allowed in Rhode Island schools, there is an exception in our state law?” Nina Rossomando writes at thewesterlysun.com. “This exception allows anyone who holds a concealed carry permit to bring a gun into a K-12 school, to a school event, such as a basketball or football game, or on a school bus without the knowledge of school officials or police.”

OMG! Really? Even after all those school shootings and negligent discharges by concealed carry license holders in Ocean State schools? Oh wait. There haven’t been any. Ever.

And while there was a ND in a Utah school — a toilet was grievously wounded — it’s not like law-abiding Americans are regularly causing injuries or fatalities in any of the seven states that “allow” concealed/open carry in public schools.

When the Westerly School Committee voted [not to infringe on Rhode Islanders’ gun rights], they could not have foreseen that on April 11, only 28 days after their vote, a man in San Bernardino with a firearm that was hidden from view would enter a school, walk to the classroom where his estranged wife was teaching, open the door and shoot her to death as well as a child she was helping.

When the man entered the school, he had made his presence known to the administrative office staff, but because the firearm was hidden from view, he was admitted. The man killed himself.

Is Ms. Rossomando seriously suggesting that if the San Bernardino shooter had been legally required to notify the school that he was carrying a firearm that he would have done so? And that would have prevented the shooting?

Yup. But really, she just wants to ban lawful firearms carriers from RI schools.

The Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence is supporting legislation this session which would prohibit people with concealed carry permits from bringing them into schools or on to school grounds.

This legislation (HB5345, SB0187) exempts Rhode Island peace officers, which includes active and retired police officers and resource officers. The coalition is asking school committees and town councils around the state to support a resolution in favor of this legislation. Thirty-nine states in the U.S. have already enacted such laws, including our nearest neighbors Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Like its neighbors, like so much of America, Rhode Island is bifurcated between (relatively) big city anti-gun rights liberals and small town pro-gun rights conservatives. The permitting process reflects the split; the State is “may issue” while cities and towns are “shall issue.”

In her opening salvo, Ms. Rossomando correctly identifies the reason that RI gun rights exist at all: most residents couldn’t give a sh*t. Apathy or a reflection of the state’s long tradition of tolerance? Yes!

Equally, those residents supporting firearms freedom are ready, willing and able to fight to protect it. They send emails, make phone calls and show up at rallies and committee hearings. This they do even though they shouldn’t have to; the State constitution’s clear, preamble-free protections:

Article I, § 22 of the Constitution of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations provides that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed . . . The rights guaranteed by this Constitution are not dependent on those guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States.”

In some ways I wish I’d stayed in Rhode Island to help defend and extend its residents’ gun rights. In other ways, I’m damn glad I left. But no matter where you live in the U.S. the fight for gun rights in our smallest state is a lesson to us all: stay politically and socially active. Always.

Recommended For You

26 Responses to Westerly, Rhode Island Upholds Concealed Carry in Schools – But Only Just

  1. Anti-Gunners will NEVER understand this basic concept: those intent on committing acts of violence will not and cannot be deterred by laws written on paper.

    • My counter to them is simple:

      “Speeding is against the law, there are laws in every state restricting your right to go faster than a posted limit. Have you ever gone over the speed limit?”

      Anyone who says they haven’t is full of it. Laws do not stop people who are not willing to follow them. Lots of things are illegal. How many do we have incarcerated? 2? 3 million?

  2. Hmm, she failed to note that the San Bernardino shooter did NOT have a ccw, and in fact was prohibited from possessing guns or ammunition. Not only that, but California law prohibits ccw holders from carrying on school campuses without the consent of the school superintendent. Hence, not only was he possessing and carrying illegally, he entered school grounds illegally as well. Since he violated sooo many laws, how is it that a ban on concealed carry in RI schools will make teachers and students safer?

    • I like how she implied that if the committee had ruled differently in RI, it would have made a difference in CA.

      Talk about moronic.

  3. The easiest way to turn the tide on people like this is to start campaigning to take away the rights they hold dear. You could play devil’s advocate on any of our Bill of Rights.

    • This. Also, give them a taste of their own medicine and stop enforcing laws they hold dear, or even just talk about ceasing enforcement and watch them flip.

      • The question is, what is that thing that they refuse to let go of? I don’t think I could get behind abolishing gay marriage, even if I was just pretending. Im at a bit of a loss.

    • Unfortunately every one of the first ten amendments could be repealed using the same arguments the antis are using against gun owners.

      They honestly don’t realize that their campaign (God forbid its ever successful) is setting the precedent to repeal every amendment they hold dear. And even worse of guns are ever taken away there will be no one left to protect the other other 9

      • It’s worse than repealing. Their campaign seeks to completely ignore the Constitution, and by extension to destroy the rule of law and replace it with unlimited government power. At least if they were attempting to repeal they would be acting within the constraints of the law, albeit in an effort to deprive people of their natural liberties which do not depend on the Constitution.

      • That’s the argument right? The Bill of Rights isn’t a limitation, it actually sets up government functions and allows them full power to deny formation of and entry into militias, ban guns, and force turn ins… right? But if you change the meaning of the Bill of Rights and claim government can deny these rights absolutely, what makes you think they’ll stop with guns?

        I asked this to a liberal friend of mine and he said “Are you really so paranoid as to think that if you didn’t have a gun that the government would turn into a tyranny that you could have otherwise stopped?!”
        I replied “What do you think of Trump?”
        He said “Trump is literally Hitler”
        I said “Isn’t LITERALLY Hitler worth at least having the chance to defend yourself against?”

  4. So why are retired police officers exempt from this law? And would they be exempt if no-carry was legislated for schools?

    • Any permit holder under 11-47-11 or 11-47-18 is exempt from the school ban.

      A pistol permit is literally valid everywhere in the state under the law. No places off limits at all.

      Everywhere is off limits if you are manufacturing or selling illegal drugs per 11-47-8c but that’s it.

      • My point is they singled retired LEOs out, and if they changed the law what are the chances they’d single retired LEOs out again as exempt. What does being a retired LEO have to do with anything?

        • Because Bloomberg’s people tried for a ban a few years ago and they faced opposition from police.

          In effort to make the bill have less opposition, they exempted retired state cops with a permit issued under 11-47-18(b).

          It won’t pass this year either but these people keep coming back.

  5. Rossomando is a big shot in the Rhode Island Progressive Democrats of America (yes, it’s a real thing).

    The abbreviation is RIP Democrats of America, a sentiment to which I subscribe completely.

    • “The abbreviation is RIP Democrats of America, a sentiment to which I subscribe completely.”

      Like a really nasty toenail fungus (that TTAG encourages advertisers to pitch their ‘cure’ – Try this tonight!!! ), Democrats are gonna be around longer than you, I, and the rest of the TTAG Chimps will ever be, *combined*…

      *sob*

      • Will they survive a nuclear winter, along with the cockroaches?

        Come to think of it, they DO share many traits, don’t they? Hmmmmmmmmm……

  6. I live in Rhode Island and wrote Rep Edwards who has 2
    pro gun bills in Committee. I wrote of my approval and thanks to his efforts. As liberal as this state is the gun laws arent as bad as
    you would suspect. We have some very pro gun but quiet Sr. Leadership
    in the house and senate. They dont advertise it but they squash the bad laws proposed everytime. Hopefully they stay in power. Ive come to believe the best way we could win the gun law skirmishes Nationally is to get off defense! If we could propose and agitate for loosening of restrictions and repeal of gun laws we could demoralize and reset the goal lines of our socialist/ communist “Betters”. I am encouraged by the national reciprocity and hearing protection acts. Umfortunately our new majority seems incapable of pushing our agenda through. They are a perfect example of being promoted above thier competency. They are so arrogant they probably think they earned it and dont understand
    the mandate was for a bold agenda. I suspect the enthisiasm, new voters and cross over voter wont be mobilzed a second time when they dont come through. The only positve thing so far is Gorsuch and I have to give most of the credit to Mitch McConnell for holding the line and keeping it open .I hope he is as good as advertised. Scalia was a national treasure.
    as we were told. Roberts is a dissapoontment to me.

    • As good as Scalia was, he is part of the problem. That crap about “commonly owned firearms” begged for more litigation and regulation and we got it from the 4th Circuit. The original intent and plain meaning was all weapons or the soldier including those suitable for military and militia use. US v. Miller 1939 Tench Coxe letter to Philadelphia Gazette June 18, 1789 Yes Virginia, machine guns…

      • I was curious about that “commonly owned firearms” crap. Scalia went from “dangerous and unusual weapons” can be regulated at common law to that means “commonly owned firearms.” He cited 13 sources for the “dangerous and unusual weapons” language.

        Instead of looking up all these obscure references myself, many of which are probably not readily available online, I googled the phrase and read a couple of papers. The first was “The Legal History of “Dangerous or Unusual Weapons'” by Clayton E. Cramer. It can be found here: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2675621. It doesn’t seem to be a finished work to me. It was somewhat interesting anyway, but didn’t go into Scalia’s sources. The second paper I read was “Dangerous and Unusual Misdirection” by Daniel R Page. It can be downloaded here: https://works.bepress.com/daniel_page/1/. That one was very interesting and did go into the sources cited.

        The paper is a good read and only 33 pages. I suggest reading it. If that is too long, I’ll summarize (with a little analysis).

        The paper argues that the phrase is not a classification of weapons but a behavior. Without having checked the veracity of his citations, I found the paper convincing. In short, dangerous and unusual weapons would be better interpreted as at least a floor of brandishing. I define brandishing as displaying a firearm or other deadly weapon in a public place in a manner calculated to alarm. “Dangerous and unusual” probably should be read to require actual alarm in the public, not some hypothetical alarm.

        The use of the word terror in conjunction with “dangerous and unusual” suggests to me that it may mean something more than a battery in public, which only requires reasonable apprehension. The term was typically stated as “going armed with dangerous and unusual weapons to the terror of the people,” and therefore, could not apply to a private act such as ownership.

        The paper concluded that Scalia was to smart to misread this by accident. The author surmised that Scalia wanted time, manner, and place restrictions on the 2A,* Kennedy** wanted classification restrictions, and Scalia intentionally crafted a weak argument about classification restrictions, but not the rest of the holdings, that could be easily overturned after the makeup of the Court changed.

        *This wouldn’t be out of line with 1A jurisprudence.
        **I’m assuming Kennedy.

  7. As I write this, these gun bills and others are being heard by the House Judiciary Committee. The hearing will probably go till midnight. I was here earlier.

  8. Wake up folks! Utah has had unrestricted teacher concealed carry since 1997. Got a CCW permit and a teaching certificate: you can carry at any public school or event with no other special permission required. Last school shooting? 1995. (This excludes one student suicide and one murder of a teacher by her soon to be ex-mother-in-law).

    • This is not a case of having to wake up. Most of us here do know that legal school carry is not a big problem and that no law can actually prevent illegal carry. I live in Czech Republic and *anyone* with a ccw permit can carry into a chool, no teaching certificate required. Last school schooting? I can’t recall a single post-WW2 one.

      School shootings are caused by factors other than legal carry in schools and so is fear of school shootings.

  9. RI is a very strange state to be a CCW holder in since you can get either a city/town issued permit or a state AG issued permit, with odd differences that come with each. If you are lucky, you live in a town where the Police Chief actually follows the laws and issues them as Shall, rather than refusing and referring you to the state AG’s office. AG permit is much harder to get and “may issue”, but you enjoy some limited reciprocity with other states that only accept an AG permit. Supposedly it is also good for concealed AND open carry. The city issued permit is concealed only and is actually much better in that you don’t have a 7 day waiting period, which strangely you do have to suffer through with an AG permit. The town police chiefs HATE issuing these things, even the ones who do it. Mine said as much to me and told me not to tell anyone I got a permit issued or he would be busy doing more via word of mouth. As a result, every year or so the chief’s pressure local lawmakers to create legislation removing the city-issued permits but thankfully this fails. The obvious compromise is to eliminate town issue but make state issue “shall” and everyone’s happy, but sanity does not often take hold in the Ocean State.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *