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      RI gun control debate focusing on mental illness

      Supporters of failed proposals to ban semi-automatic weapons in Rhode Island say they'll try again in the wake of the Washington Navy Yard massacre.

      Kim Ziegelmayer (ZEE'-guhl-my-er) is a member of a group of Rhode Island mothers who unsuccessfully pushed for tougher gun laws last year, including a proposed ban on semi-automatic weapons. She says the Washington shooting shows that gun violence remains an unresolved problem.

      But opponents like Rep. Michael Chippendale note the Navy Yard shootings occurred in a city with some of the nation's toughest gun laws. He says Rhode Island should focus instead on keeping guns out of the hands of violent people with mental illnesses.

      A state task force will soon begin working on the use of mental health records and background checks for prospective gun buyers.

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