‘We are tired of it being our problem’: Advocate says the gun community feels attacked
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — While the nation still comes to terms with the 21 lives lost in a school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, the debate on firearms rages on in Rhode Island.
Gun owners in the Ocean State say they feel attacked for an atrocity that they had nothing to do with.
“We have to deal with the fact that we’re being accused of a crime we had nothing to do with,” said Brenda Jacob, Secretary of the Rhode Island Revolver and Rifle Association. “Then we have to go on the defense and try to defend our rights, defend our freedoms. We know that there is a problem, but the thing is we are tired of it being our problem.”
You can acquire a firearm in the Ocean State if you are 21 years old, have permission from local authorities, and clear an extensive background check, which is stricter than federal law.
While a bill currently sits in the State House that would ban assault rifles and high-capacity magazines, Jacob said this would overlook the root problem of mental health.
“You can take away all the guns you want. The problem is that if someone is hell bent on hurting someone, they’re going to find a way to hurt people. You know, anti-gun legislation is really not the answer. It’s just going to keep compounding the problem and keep dividing us further and further,” she explained.
Leaders in the Rhode Island Coalition of Moms Demand Action, a group fighting against gun violence, call for more gun regulation.
“I’m not anti-second amendment,” said Jennifer Boylan, a member of the coalition. “But the second amendment isn’t unrestricted. Other countries have mentally ill people, but only in America do we give them access to guns.”
Boylan acknowledges mental health as a national crisis but says less accessible weapons can minimize tragedies like Uvalde.
“It’s the combination of having such easy access that’s purely American, and that is fixable,” Boylan concluded.