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  • Kathleen Layton

North Kingstown Democrats Advocate

Updated: May 4, 2023

Jennifer Lima (NKSD); Matthew B. McCoy (NKTC); Melissa Devine; Kahlia Shmerer

I wonder, if eventually, all Americans will be connected by nonsensical gun violence and deadly mass shootings. Perhaps we already are and just don’t know it.

I envision an invisible barbed wire that will soon thread and connect the nation with grief, just from guns. Each barb represents a cousin, grandchild, or high school sweetheart dead for simply going about one’s day. May that day include browsing for bananas, being in first grade, or frolicking at a sweet 16th birthday party.

So instead of waiting for the next call for thoughts and prayers, I volunteered for Moms Demand Action and visited the State House on April 25 to advocate for stricter gun legislation. All I had to do was show up, wearing red. What followed was interesting conversations with fellow Rhode Islanders who share my same fears over gun violence. And yes, there were a lot of respectful and pleasant gun enthusiasts wearing yellow shirts. The State House looked like a glimmering hotdog with ketchup and mustard.

Kahlia Shmerer and Kathleen Layton

That Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee heard 23 gun bills and the day was long and filled with compelling testimonies and healthy debates.

While there, I spotted and hung out with fellow North Kingstown Democrat Town Committee members Melissa Devine and Kahlia Shmerer. North Kingstown elected officials School Committee member Jennifer Lima and Town Council’s Matthew B. McCoy each testified in support of many of the safe gun bills.

So, while waiting for the next lockdown text to jolt me into anxiety, I’m going to visit the State House again and again to voice my support for the safe storage bill and assault weapon ban. I joined Moms Demand Action but you don’t have to. Just show up to the State House for Rhode Island Advocacy Day on May 11, and don’t forget to wear red!

What to Expect on Advocacy Day

On Thursday May 11, Moms Demand Action will gather at the State House to hear from elected officials and community partners and to lobby in support of life saving gun safety legislation. But don’t worry, before we lobby our elected officials, Moms Against Action will teach you what you need to know. Until then, here’s what you need to know:

Advocacy Day is Thursday May 11th at 1:30-4:30 PM and you can come for all or just part of it, whatever works for you!

  • Please wear your red Moms Demand shirt, and if you don’t have one, MDA will give you one.

  • We will gather in the State House Stateroom, and there will be volunteers around to direct you.

  • Our priority bills are a Secure Gun Storage bill and an Assault Weapons Ban bill.

  • On street parking is available around the State House, though we also suggest you consider parking at the mall so you don't have to worry about paying the meter. It is about a 10 minute walk from the mall to the State House entryway, which is on Smith Street.

  • Please bring any friends or family who are also interested in making RI safer from gun violence!

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