Thousands gather at RI State House as lawmakers discuss gun legislation

Authorities told NBC 10 News more than 2,000 people gathered at the Rhode Island State House, as lawmakers were slated to discuss gun bills and gun safety legislation Monday, March 6, 2018. (WJAR) 

Authorities told NBC 10 News more than 2,000 people gathered at the Rhode Island State House during public hearings Monday starting at 4 p.m., as lawmakers were slated to discuss more than 10 bills that would bring new gun laws to the state.

Hundreds of people signed up to speak on behalf of the bills, but local leaders told many citizens to submit written testimony instead.

Still, several people were there after 11 p.m., wanting to make their feelings heard.

People on both sides of the issue clashed as the bills were debated.

“It’s been really, really disappointing to see kind of the rhetoric that the pro-Second Amendment side has been pushing. We’ve had people be called really nasty names. We’ve had physical altercations, so we’re really just trying to stay positive,” said Kat Kerwin of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence.

The stack of bills considered are vastly different.

One bill would place a ban on assault weapons ban, including militarized weapons.

Another bill proposes a high-capacity magazine ban of more than 10 rounds, while another wants to stop minors from owning guns.

But some said none of the proposed laws are needed.

“In the state of Rhode Island, we have some of the strictest gun laws here,” said Will Worthy, who owns a hunting shop. “You don’t see any mass shootings in our educational systems. We have a very good set of laws here. Nothing really needs to change.”

The bills included some of the following:

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