Bill to arm URI cops goes to first vote

Legislation that would allow University of Rhode Island police officers to carry firearms is going to its first test in the state legislature.

The House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote Tuesday on whether the legislation should be forwarded to the full House.

Rhode Island is the only state in the nation that prohibits its public university police departments from carrying firearms.

Efforts to change that policy got a boost after campus police responded to reports of a gunman in a university building last month. No gunman was found, but supporters of the legislation say the incident highlighted a critical security weakness.

Should the bill pass the decision on arming officers would be left the university.

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