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6/26/2013 House OKs bill barring sales, ownership of guns with altered IDs
STATE HOUSE – The House of Representatives has approved legislation setting a five-year prison sentence for anyone who knowingly receives, transports or possesses a firearm that has had its identifying marks altered or obliterated.

The bill adds language to existing law, which now only prohibits individuals from changing, altering or removing the name of the maker, model, manufacturer’s number or other mark of identification of any firearm.

“This is purely and simply a public safety issue,” said Rep. Robert E. Craven (D-Dist. 32, North Kingstown), who introduced the legislation. “No law-abiding gun owner should have any valid or legitimate reason to alter the ID of a firearm, and similarly there should be no reason for a person to possess a gun that has been altered in that way.”

The legislation, if enacted, will not apply to the lawful exchange of component parts of any firearms nor to any antique or collectible weapon legally possessed by collectors or dealers of firearms.

The bill (2013-H5286Aaa) also makes a provision for individuals who may have a firearm with an identification mark that is only partially marred, along with proof of ownership of the firearm. Those individuals can apply for recertification of the firearm from a Rhode Island licensed firearms business owner who also is a Federal Firearms License (FFL) holder or a local police chief and/or police department official. Within 60 days of application, notification must be provided if the ownership and identifying marks can be verified.

The sale or transfer of a recertified firearm or a report by the owner that the firearm was stolen will immediately void all recertification documentation.

“As an elected official, I swore an oath to uphold the U.S. and Rhode Island constitutions, and I would never do anything to undermine our citizens’ Second Amendment rights, “ said Representative Craven. “But we must find ways to address gun violence in our state and nation, and we must find ways to enact and strengthen laws that protect our citizens and penalize those who violate our existing laws. This bill is a sensible approach to accomplish that.”

The Craven bill, which was introduced in conjunction with the Office of the Attorney General, now goes to the Senate for consideration. A companion Senate bill, (2013-H0455A), sponsored by Sen. Gayle L. Goldin (D-Dist. 3, Providence), is before the Senate Committee on Judiciary.

For more information, contact:
Randall T. Szyba, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 222-2457