Politics

Burrillville Town Council president: New magazine law is ‘unconstitutional’



BURRILLVILLE, R.I. (WPRI) — Burrillville Town Council president Don Fox thinks Rhode Island’s new law that bans high-capacity magazines essentially “makes people felons overnight.”

In June, Fox stated in a town council meeting he would not comply with the legislation to ban the high capacity magazines that Gov. Dan McKee signed into law the day before. It would make it a felony to possess gun magazines that hold more than ten rounds in Rhode Island.

The law also states residents have six months from the day it was signed to surrender them to police, transfer them to states where they’re legal, or modify them to hold less ammunition.

For now, Fox said he has no intentions to give up his property.

“Our stance is that town should not be in the business of spending taxpayer money to violate people’s constitutional rights,” Fox told 12 News.

In 2019, Burrillville became the first town in Rhode Island to declare itself a “Second Amendment sanctuary town.” In part, this means the town will not pay for the storage of weapons that are seized if gun control legislation that bans specific firearms were to be passed.

On June 21, Gov. McKee signed three high-profile gun control measures into law, including making it illegal to openly carry a loaded rifle or shotgun in public, raising the age to buy a gun or ammunition from 18 to 21, and banning high-capacity magazines that contain more than ten rounds of ammunition.

“If this goes into effect there’s going to be some hard decisions that will need to be made by our town and any town that’s passed the second amendment sanctuary resolution,” Fox said.

In a June 22 town council meeting, Fox placed two high capacity magazines on the table, and said he would continue to bring them to meetings beyond the 180 days in which Rhode Island’s new legislation would go into effect. He also stated he would not give them up, and recommended residents do the same.

Not every resident in the 2A sanctuary town agreed. Resident Frances DiBisceglia voiced concerns then, and at the following town council meeting on July 20.

“I understand people have a right to have their guns, and they want their guns, and I do understand that. But I do feel that the restrictions on magazine limits is necessary,” DiBisceglia stated at the July 20 meeting.

Fox said he and others hope the new magazine law will be found unconstitutional, but isn’t saying other existing laws are.

“If we really want to provide more safety to everybody, let’s enforce the gun laws that are on the books,” he said. “Let’s make sure that there are strict penalties for gun law violations. That’s where we really need to start.”

Fox told 12 News that, pending any legal action halting the new law taking effect, any definitive action on the town’s end will happen closer to when residents near the deadline of having to turn high capacity magazines in later this year.



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