Letter: Consider these firearms facts, not fiction

Posted 2/18/21

As an advocate for firearms’ rights in Rhode Island, I 100 percent agree that any amount violence, with or without firearms, should be of concern to us all. However, heeding the clamor of the …

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Letter: Consider these firearms facts, not fiction


As an advocate for firearms’ rights in Rhode Island, I 100 percent agree that any amount violence, with or without firearms, should be of concern to us all. However, heeding the clamor of the gun control crowd to heap more restrictive laws on legal gun owners will make us less safe. 

Your article “Gun ownership and use on the rise in Rhode Island” asserts that the increase in firearms sales is related to the increase in violent crime. Not a single fact is cited to support this assertion. 

Linda Finn, founder of The Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence (RICAGV), predictably leaps to her standard default conclusion that the rise in violent crime is due to increased firearms sales. This is total conjecture on Finn’s part, and she ignores solid data that positively refutes her claims.

According to Providence Police Department Major David Lapain, seven of the 18 murders in 2020 have resulted in an arrest. Finn cites this incomplete data yet avoids such important details such as the types of weapons used, their capacities and where they came from. Why? Because she doesn’t know these details. Given the small number of firearm-related deaths in Rhode Island, it would be easy to bring hard facts to the debate. These details that should be driving the narrative, not speculation.

In past years, the Rhode Island Firearm Owners’ League obtained every single arrest report involving a seized firearm in Providence, and the data refutes everything Finn claims. There is, and has always been, huge disconnect between the initiatives coming out of the RICAGV and real-world crime. Finn’s organization is narrowly focused on whatever fits their agenda of attacking people who own firearms legally while ignoring facts that contradict their position.

For example, gun sales have gone up in every Rhode Island community, yet we only see homicides increase in Providence. If Finn’s method of analyzing variable relationships in isolation is acceptable, then arriving at the inverse conclusions is equally rational. Could the increase in crime have caused the increase in gun sales?

What else refutes Finn’s claims? Since 2006 we have seen the numbers of locally issued concealed-carry gun permits go from near zero to thousands upon thousands. Finn cannot point to a single incident where a person with a locally issued permit harmed someone in Rhode Island. Fact is, we’ve seen a huge increase in folks carrying firearms without the gun-control crowd’s predicted “wild-west” scenario.

Finally, Finn’s agenda includes prohibiting concealed carriers from entering school grounds, something that has never been illegal for good reason. In the current iteration of her No Guns On School Grounds bill, folks carrying firearms will be unholstering, unloading, loading and reholstering firearms just outside school grounds. Anyone familiar with safe firearms handling knows a holstered firearm is far safer than one being handled. Gun ranges don’t allow these actions anywhere unless on the firing line, but we’re going to require it in front of schools across Rhode Island?

This is just more evidence that Finn and the gun control crowd cannot be taken seriously when determining firearms policy.

Glenn Valentine
East Greenwich 

Mr. Valentine is vice president of the Rhode Island Firearms Owners League.

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.