"Not a day has passed since the heartbreaking shooting in Parkland that these seventeen students and teachers haven't been on my mind. With Congress continuing to drag its feet, states need to step up and take action now to keep our communities safe," said Governor Raimondo. "This task force represents a breadth of expertise on school safety, gun violence prevention and mental health, and I am confident that, together, we will chart a course toward a safer and more secure Rhode Island."
The Gun Safety Working Group will meet monthly to discuss and develop recommendations to counteract the gun violence epidemic. The issues to be considered by this task force include identifying loopholes in the background check system and reporting processes for individuals who should not have access to firearms, preparing for and preventing mass shooting events including school shootings, and addressing domestic violence, suicide, and mental health. The Working Group also will support the Regional Gun Violence Research Consortium established in February by Governor Raimondo along with the governors of Connecticut, New York and New Jersey.
The first meeting of the Gun Safety Working Group will be the week of April 22.
"People in every community have been impacted by gun violence, and too many of us have seen these impacts firsthand," said Narragansett Town Manager James Manni, a former Rhode Island State Police major. "This is a complex issue with strong opinions on every side. By bringing so many experts to the table and having an open and honest discussion about the steps we can take, I know we'll be able to make a real difference for the people of Rhode Island."
"Gun violence is a public health issue that touches all Rhode Islanders," said Dr. Megan Ranney, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at Rhode Island Hospital/Alpert Medical School. "As a doctor, I see both the injuries and their long-term impact on our state. Rhode Island needs coalitions that create consensus based on facts and evidence, not partisan politics, to reduce the number of gun injuries and all of their associated costs. I look forward to bringing my background in emergency medicine and health services to this important task force."
Last year, Governor Raimondo worked with advocates from Moms Demand, the Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence and other community leaders to pass legislation that takes guns out of the hands of abusers.
The governor has been a vocal advocate for several proposals currently before the legislature aimed at addressing gun violence, including the red flag bill, a ban on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and efforts to prevent the concealed carry of firearms by civilians onto school grounds.
Members of the Gun Safety Working Group include:
Dr. Megan Ranney, Working Group Chair,
James Manni, Working Group Chair,
Capt. Derek Borek,
Chief Dean Hoxsie,
Chief Edward Mello,
Chief James Mendonca,
Col. Ann Assumpico,
Dr. Jill Doerner,
Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott,
Jennifer Smith Boylan,
Major Michael Jagoda,
Major Oscar Perez,
Paul Bueno de Mesquita,
Sen. Erin Lynch Prata,
Additional members may be added.