Rhode Island gun control bills could vastly impact firearms prosecutions

The gun control debate has rarely raged hotter in America than it has over the past few months. In Rhode Island and across the nation, advocates on both sides have been butting heads and stoking the fiery public dialogue.

A package of bills in the Rhode Island legislature could soon create a host of new gun control measures. For Rhode Island firearms owners, this could mean greater odds of being implicated in a gun crime.

Up to two decades behind bars for possessing a high capacity magazine

The Rhode Island gun control initiative consists of nine bills aimed at instituting multifaceted firearms restrictions. The propositions in the bills include a ban on so-called "assault weapons" within the state, prohibitions against high capacity magazines (those capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition) and an expansion of required background checks.

In addition to criminalizing new conduct, some of the bills would increase penalties for existing firearms offenses. For instance, sentences would be kicked up for those convicted of stealing a gun or possessing a stolen gun.

Rhode Island already has some of the toughest gun laws in that nation, and if some or all of the bills are passed, the potential consequences of a gun crime will only become more severe. To put it in perspective, under the new legislation, possessing a magazine with a capacity in excess of 10 rounds would carry a sentence of 10 to 20 years, a prison term comparable to the typical sentencing ranges for robbery, sexual assault and even second degree murder.

Get legal help if you have been accused of a gun crime in Rhode Island

Under current Rhode Island law, the most common firearms prosecutions are for unlicensed possession or committing a crime while using a gun. Many firearms offenses also involve other unlawful conduct, such as drug possession.

Whatever the alleged facts of the incident, if you have been accused of a firearms offense in Rhode Island, do not underestimate the seriousness of your situation. It is possible to be convicted of a firearms offense even if you did not intend to harm anyone, and you could be facing real time behind bars.

If you are being charged with a gun crime, you need to take steps immediately to protect your future and your freedom: get in touch with a Rhode Island gun crime defense attorney today. Your attorney can argue before the court on your behalf, negotiate with prosecutors and help discredit or suppress damaging evidence. Call a criminal defense attorney to begin building your case.