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Members of the “We the People” Second Amendment advocacy group gathered in front of the Hopkinton Town Hall before Monday’s council meeting. The council was planning to consider passing a resolution declaring the town a Second Amendment sanctuary. Cynthia Drummond, The Westerly Sun

HOPKINTON — Before a packed chamber, members of the Town Council passed a resolution Monday declaring the town a ‘Second Amendment Sanctuary.’

Town Council President Frank Landolfi, council Vice President Scott Bill Hirst and councilor Sylvia Thompson voted in favor of the resolution, with Barbara Capalbo and Sharon Davis opposed.

Hopkinton is the second town, behind Burrillville, to pass the resolution, which asserts local control, alluding to the ‘Sanctuary City’ movement in Europe and North America. Numerous local and state governments, including the State of Rhode Island and the city of Providence, have proclaimed themselves sanctuaries, welcoming immigrants and asylum-seekers and have sought to limit their cooperation with national immigration enforcement efforts.

Second Amendment advocates argue that firearms are already heavily regulated in Rhode Island and support the police using their discretion in enforcing gun laws.

Wearing yellow tee shirts emblazoned with a black “We the People” design, advocates from throughout Rhode Island gathered in the Town Hall parking lot before the meeting began.

Hopkinton resident Ben LaFazia was one of the organizers of the show of support.

“We just all came together once we saw what happened in Burrillville,” he said. “We started reaching out to local town councils, reps, senators, and we’re trying to see how many towns we can get to follow in Burrillville’s footsteps …. Originally, we were thinking a couple of towns, and then it just really kind of blew up to a state level.”

State Sen. Elaine Morgan, R- Hopkinton and Richmond, has been urging towns to pass Second Amendment Sanctuary resolutions.

“I am here to represent my constituents who have come to me and asked me to put forth this resolution,” she said. “I took an oath, as we all have, to uphold our Constitution, our Amendments, from infringement. We’re going to follow the laws that are already written, but it’s the laws that they want to keep coming at us with and enough is enough.”

Rep. Justin Price, R- Hopkinton and Richmond, said he was pleased to see towns beginning to stand up to the state.

“It’s great to see the towns standing up against the state’s infringement on their rights,” he said. “It’s going to be interesting to see who shows up here tonight and what transpires, but as far as agreeing with it, I certainly do.”

Hirst introduced the motion with a diatribe against the state legislature.

“I think it’s appalling that state leaders in this state and you talk about sanctuary cities for illegal immigrants who are here illegally, violating the law, and yet the Second Amendment, which is guaranteed by the United States Constitution, permits and guarantees the right to bear arms,” he said. “... I think the politics played by the political left, the liberals, the progressives, leave much to be desired on this issue.”

Thompson, a gun owner who grew up in Hope Valley, described the importance of firearms in the rural community and said she would also support the resolution.

“Obviously the police department is going to do whatever they are required to do under the law, so I don’t have a problem with this resolution as it’s written,” she said.

Capalbo questioned the value of the resolution.

“I’m not saying that you can’t have guns, I’m just saying this resolution is a feel-good resolution,” she said. “It has no intrinsic value. It doesn’t do anything except make you feel like you’ve done something.”

Davis said she felt that while people had the right to own firearms, some control was necessary.

“I think we should make some adjustments in light of what’s been happening and some of these bills that talk about having assault weapons and multiple capacity. That is what we’ve seen when we’ve had people do these massacres around the country, and I would not be for that. So if the Second Amendment says ‘all or nothing,’ then I have to say no,” she said.

Landolfi said he wanted to send the state a message about future gun control legislation that might infringe on his rights.

“I think that the state legislature and the governor continue to want to play around with what they feel is our rights and what is not our rights,” he said. “I don’t trust them with my money, let alone to handle the safety of our residents. I have a lot of guns and I have a concealed carry permit and I want to be able to carry where it’s lawful to carry.”

During the public comment period, LaFazia reminded council members of Hopkinton’s history.

“Our town was named after Stephen Hopkins, one of the original signers of the Declaration of Independence,” he said. “Our town seal has three firearms in it and our town slogan is ‘Not to be Silent nor off our Guard.’ This town was built around the Second Amendment.”

After the vote, Davis said she was holding firmly to her opposing position.

“Something needs to happen,” she said. “If this is one way I can do it, then I vote no, because we do need some changes.”

I think it was a political move,” Capalbo said of the vote. “It had nothing to do with reality and there’s no intrinsic value to the resolution. Half this town doesn’t agree with that and some of this town does agree with it.”

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(3) comments

azima

The majority of Americans support better background checks and bans on assault weapons. I'm disappointed that the council was swayed by the imagined threat of hunters having their rifles confiscated when mass shootings are an actual threat that necessitates school children's training (basically hiding in the dark when they should be learning to read and write!!) in the event of an active shooter. Nearly 40,000 Americans were killed by firearms in 2018, including suicides, accidental shootings by children of children, domestic violence, etc. More people died from firearm injuries in the United States last year than in any other year since at least 1968, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If the council believes the majority of its constituents support the "sanctuary," they should put it on the ballot. Well, at least this vote is one way to keep families with children from settling in Hopkinton!

KJM

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/gun-deaths/
is an excellent source of information on the distribution of gun deaths. It includes additional links that provide further educational and information for anyone interested. Since the "devil is in the detail", the above link and sub-links will demonstrate to any rational person that many of the proposed "gun control solutions" are more about "control" than being an actual solution. For example, nearly 2/3 of gun deaths are suicides. Do we really believe that ANY gun control measure will reduce those suicides? It would CERTAINLY lower the gun deaths total but would not address the root problem. Yet the anti-gun crowd would crow about their "success" while ~27,000 people would still die at their own hands by some other means. What about the ~12,000 homicides, nearly half young men, nearly 2/3 of that half are black. Gun control gonna make this number look better? A gun is easy to blame because it was the 'instrument at hand'. However, if you are anti-gun, facts don't matter, the ends justify the means and when guns are gone and 'gun deaths go down' people can pat themselves on the back at a job well done. But what are you gonna tell the same number of mommas, wives husbands, brothers and sisters when their loved ones die but by some other means? The difficulty we face is that AVOIDABLE deaths move us to DO something. And we reach for the most obvious solution proposed by the panderers for political gain who willingly trade our freedoms for the ephemeral unicorn of "safety". The REAL solution(s) requires thoughtful delving into the problems and the required solutions. But THAT requires MORE investment of our time and intellect than we seem willing to invest to prevent suicide, prevent young men, predominantly black, from killing each other or to prevent our citizenry from killing police officers and vice versa. Terrorism and crazy people might always be with us but gun control measures will do nothing more than shift the majority of those 40,000 deaths to another 'instrument'. BTW, I believe that we need better driver education, better review, periodic testing, background checks and denial of driving rights to the people who are causing an equal number of driving deaths to gun deaths. I am more afraid of the clowns who are on the hi-way than clowns with guns!

KJM

As I've noted elsewhere, rational discussion of our 2nd amendment rights is welcome. Also, elsewhere, I have suggested that councilor Capalbo seems incapable or unwilling to engage in rational thinking as well as that she is so disingenuous as to border on dishonesty. Take for example her statement on the sanctuary resolution, "Half this town doesn’t agree with that and some of this town does agree with it.” If HALF don't agree, doesn't that mean that the "SOME" who do agree is also half? Why not say so instead of formulating her sentence in such a tortured construct as to suggest that she has, or represents, a majority view? Disingenuous, much? Without taking on her FABRICATED statistic that "half" don't agree I offer some synonyms for "disingenuous", many of which a less forgiving critic might apply to Councilor Capalbo, these synonyms include: deceitful, dishonest, false, unfair. There are twenty others in the reference I Googled. Some of my favorites include artful, duplicitous, guileful, indirect, shifty, wily and my particular favorite MENDACIOUS. We all must give due credit to our elected officials for dedicating themselves and their time to serving our needs. HOWEVER, they serve OUR needs, not their own personal agenda.

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