PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Six students at the University of California Santa Barbara were killed and many others were injured after a fellow student went on a rampage last week.
Dozens of activists in Rhode Island rallied to keep guns out of the hands of those with serious mental illnesses, in the wake of the recent gun violence. The crowd, which included Representative David Cicilline, gathered at the Rochambeau Library in Providence on Saturday.
Rep. Cicilline was chosen to speak loudly on the issue, while introducing the an act aimed at ending the purchase of firearms by a dangerous individual. The proposed bill would expand the disqualifying health criteria to prevent a person from buying a gun if a mental health professional determines the person is likely to cause serious harm to themselves or others.
“Most people agree that people who are seriously mentally ill should not be able to go purchase a firearm because they could use it in a way to harm others. If we all agree on that then this bill is a very pragmatic solution to address that issue,” said Cicilline.
The legislation would also encourage states to establish a system for mental health professionals to report patients meeting dangerous standards to the FBI’s national instant criminal background check system. Members of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence rallied around this proposed bill and voiced concern on this growing problem that has silenced so many innocent lives.
“Let’s not put our heads in the sand, there are going to be more Newtowns. So what are you going to do about it?” said Teny Gross from the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence.
The University of California Santa Barbara shooter had been under the care of therapists, but had never been institutionalized or forcibly committed, so he was able to purchase the guns he used in the rampage legally.