Rhode Island Second Amendment Sanctuary Towns Arise

One by one, small towns in the Ocean State are throwing off the shackles of gun control

Published Monday, May 13, 2019 2:30 pm
Gun Rights Watch article by GRW Chief Editor

The threat of bans in Rhode Island on standard capacity magazines, so-called "assault weapons", special new taxes on guns, and further restrictions on where law-abiding citizens can legally carry firearms has caused a similar backlash in the form of Gun Sanctuary Towns popping up across the tiny state.

In New England, county governments are mostly nonexistent and all local legislative power is vested in the municipal towns and cities themselves. Rhode Island, a state so small that it is possible on the mainland to drive from nearly any point to most other points in the state within about a half an hour, only has five counties but it has 39 total municipalities. A growing number of these are voicing increasing resistance to the gun control measures coming from the state legislature in Providence.

On April 25th, the town of Burrillville in the northwestern corner of the state passed a resolution to declare itself a Second Amendment Sanctuary Town. The resolution does not expressly forbid police from enforcing these new gun laws, but it does prohibit spending the town's money to enforce some of the mandates within them. Police may have the ability to confiscate firearms, but the town has no specific place to store them — making it unlikely that many firearms will ever be taken in the first place.

The full resolution, custom-written by the Burrillville Town Council, is below:

Other Towns Passing 2A Resolutions

Last week, a round of similar declarations began as the furor over Burrillville's decision began to die down. Rural and suburban towns across the western part of the state picked up the mantle of gun rights and began drafting their own resolutions, beginning to spread in the areas away from the capital and more populated locations.

  • On May 6th, the town of Hopkinton passed its own resolution. Like Burrillville, its declaration is mostly symbolic but goes a long way toward resisting the oppression of the legislature by refusing to support the unfunded, unconstitutional mandates.
  • On May 8th, West Greenwich followed suit. The resolution there Wednesday mirrored closely the two that were passed prior and resulted in a 4-1 vote in favor, although the Chief of Police suggested that they would uphold the new laws anyway. With no place to store confiscated weapons however, it remains to be seen exactly how he plans to confiscate any firearms.
  • Thursday, May 9th, saw the passage of another resolution in the town of Foster. In another 4-1 vote, the town council affirmed the passage of a Second Amendment Sanctuary City resolution.
    Foster Town Councilmember Heidi Rogers made an emotional statement recounting how her son was shot in the back by a crazed assailant and was fearful of him having his ability to defend himself taken away.
    “I am obviously in support of this. In April of last year my son was actually the victim of a shooting… He was shot through the back window in this truck while he was driving. He was injured.”
    She went on to stress the importance of punishing actual lawbreakers instead of lawful gun owners, suggesting that she thought that his attacker would probably only wind up serving 6 months for his crime.
  • Tuesday, May 14th, Richmond passed its own resolution attended in a packed auditorium by hundreds of pro-gun supporters and a significantly lower number of anti-gun opposers.
  • Monday, June 3rd saw the passage of a resolution in Tiverton by a 4 to 3 vote. MDA protestors were out in force, but couldn't change the vote.
  • On Thursday, June 6th Glocester passed a resolution unanimously by 7 to 0 after an hour-long debate where the pro-gun speakers slightly outnumbered the anti-gun forces.
  • On Monday, June 10 Coventry held their meeting and passed another resolution unanimously. This one may have been the fastest yet, with the entire meeting running less than 42 minutes.
  • On Thursday, June 13th, Scituate passed a resolution by a six to one majority, with several speakers both for and against the resolution.
  • On Tuesday, July 16th, West Warwick passed their resolution unanimously. The room was a virtual sea of yellow shirt supporters, with only 2 MDA members visible.

Special thanks to Jeff Wittenborn for bringing this story to our attention.