High capacity magazines, ghost guns are a problem

An ANNUAL REPORT released Monday by Attorney General Peter Neronia suggests gun prosecutions in state courts will increase by 2022.
An ANNUAL REPORT released Monday by Attorney General Peter Neronia suggests gun prosecutions in state courts will increase by 2022.

PROVIDENCE – Attorney General Peter F. Nerona on Monday released the office’s required annual report on gun crimes for the 2022 calendar year, the first since the General Assembly expanded reporting requirements in 2021 to include statistics such as weapon type and case outcome.

According to the report, state prosecutors handled 799 gun cases in 2022, most of which originated in Providence County and 144 involving multiple firearms. According to the report, 383 of these gun cases are currently pending.

“Any way you look at it, this year’s report will once again show that, like many other parts of the country, our communities continue to be flooded with guns,” Senate President Dominic J. Neronian wrote. In a report to Ruggerio and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. K. Joseph Shekarchi.

Among the new gun laws passed in the past three years is a ban on high-capacity safes that can hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. Nerohna reported that 77 of the gun cases prosecuted in 2022 involved firearms with a magazine capacity of 16 to 30 rounds and 30 cases where magazines had a capacity of 30 or more.

Nerona promoted the Urban Violent Crime Initiative, a multi-agency, prosecutor-led collaboration between the Providence, Pawtucket and Central Falls police departments, the RI Department of Corrections and the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The initiative, launched in 2021, is showing results, Nerona said.

In addition, legislation passed in 2020 banning the possession, sale or manufacture of so-called “ghost guns” has been the focus of state prosecutions. Nerona said his office and law enforcement agencies across the state have seen an increase in these makeshift firearms. The RI Attorney General’s Office has prosecuted more than 90 defendants under the ghost gun law since its passage.

“Our prosecutors are seeing a significant number of ghost guns associated with violent crime in Rhode Island because they are increasingly being sought by those who are otherwise prohibited from legally possessing guns in Rhode Island,” he said.

In addition to ghost guns, law enforcement continues to see assault weapons and high-capacity magazines “in every corner of the state, rural and urban,” Nerona wrote, adding that state prosecutors are also pursuing straw buyers, charging more than 20. people because the state law was amended to make it a criminal offense to obtain a firearm for someone who is legally prohibited from possessing a firearm.

The report highlights several cases that Nerona said demonstrate his office’s commitment to gun-related prosecutions, including the conviction of a Providence man who was sentenced to 45 years and 37 years for illegal gun possession. In another case, two Providence men were convicted of gun and drug trafficking charges and sentenced in August 2022 to 20 years, with 12 and 15 years suspended, respectively, for 7 years.

Christopher Allen is a PBN staff writer. You can reach him at Allen@PBN.com.

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