Dear Chairwomen Euer and Committee members,
It is my most sincere hope that each of you read and take the contents of this correspondence to heart before bringing the assault weapons ban to the floor for a vote. I have personally spent more than 90 hours analyzing the data the attorney general released with the 2022 Gun Crimes report. I have, using court connect opened each and every case file contained within the report. Below are some of the findings from this report that were either overlooked or left out of the publication that was posted along with the data.
The attorney generals published document stated that 799 total cases were charged plus disposed of and 383 were pending. This is the correct number of case files released as well. Going on the assumption that all the data for every firearms crime that occurred in 2022 was indeed contained in this report the released data shows that only 261 people were charged with firearms crime in 2022. Not 799. In a state with a population 1.096 million it appears that we are doing a great job of keeping firearms crimes at bay. The FBI data agrees that Rhode Island is one of the safest states in the nation relative to firearms crimes. Interestingly enough, of the 261 charged crimes in 2022, 207 or 79.31% of them are still pending in the court system. The 799 range in date from 2014-2022 clearly covering many years.
Taking the entire 799 contained in the report into consideration only 47% of these have been resolved in the courts. I would like you to focus on 170 of these resolved cases in which the defendant received no jail time keeping in mind that of this 170 only 19 were from 2022. The data however is very illuminating. Of those that received no jail time 46% of all firearm charges were dismissed. This figure does not include those in which the plea was nolo. Of those charged with domestic violence that received no jail time 72% of these cases had firearms charges dismissed. In fact, 63% of all firearms charges in this category were dismissed. Of those charged with Substance Mfg/distribution 84% of these cases had firearms charges dismissed. 74% of all firearms charges in this category were dismissed. These figures do not contain charges in which nolo was the plea. Recap; 799(total cases)-389(pending cases)=410 (resolved cases). 170 or 41.46% of the 410 resolved cases received no jail time.
As you are aware, the 2022 gun crime report according to the legislation passed by the general assembly should reflect those crimes committed from Jan1-Dec31 of 2022 in all courts in the state as well as all cases handled by the attorney generals office in the same year. The released written report is not that. https://riag.ri.gov/media/3941/download
I would ask that as our legislators you take a logical, fact based and common-sense approach in making an already safe state more safe. The data clearly demonstrates that our judicial system is broken. Based on the facts presented, a very common-sense way to achieve this would be to convict and jail those that are already in custody for firearms crimes. The proposal on the table such as the assault weapons ban will have no effect on the criminals listed in these case files. This law would however create an entire new class of felons including myself.
I would be most grateful for your further consideration on these matters and will leave you with a quick analogy. The Ford F-150. Everyone knows what they are. I would imagine that most everyone would consider this truck fairly common. The Ford Motor Company since the model’s inception to current has produced 26 million of this model. There are an estimated 20.6 million “assault” style rifles privately owned in this country.
Click here for detailed report: AG Report Sorted Data
I would be happy to meet directly with any member or the entire committee to review the data I have put together.
Dan K Kesler
Education Committee Chair
Federated Rhode Island Sportsman’s Club
USCCA CCW and Home defense Instructor
NRA Pistol Instructor