To the Editor:
Retired school principal Joe Crowley writes (from ‘If you think guns make it safer, then check the numbers,’ 2/1/18): “The Cranston City Council is in a quandary about allowing concealed weapons in schools.”
Unfortunately, the problem is much simpler. The Republican Councilmen have repeatedly blocked Democratic efforts to discuss the issue. While their reasons are unclear, two Republicans, Council President Michael Farina and Councilman Christopher Paplauskas have said they have concealed weapons permits.
Over the past year, Democratic Councilman John Lanni has repeatedly introduced a resolution urging the General Assembly to outlaw concealed weapons in schools. Republicans, who have a 5-4 majority on the Council, have used a variety of parliamentary maneuvers to avoid voting on the issue. Lanni’s resolution is usually referred to the Ordinance Committee, which Council President Farina has stacked with all five Republicans and just one Democrat. When the issue comes up on the committee agenda, the lone Democrat moves its passage. The Republicans then say nothing and therefore the resolution dies for lack of a second.
When the issue came up most recently, Republicans quickly voted to table it with no discussion.
Some might think these are typical partisan games, but they are not. Several years ago, when the Democrats had the majority, then Council President Lanni put resolutions directly on the full Council agenda so that all Council members could vote on them. No resolutions were killed by parliamentary maneuvers.
In one instance, Republican Councilman Donald Botts proposed a resolution to eliminate the master lever in Rhode Island elections. The issue was debated and defeated by the Democrats. A few months later, Botts reintroduced the same resolution. It was debated, several Democrats changed their opinions, and the resolution passed.
Let’s have a discussion of allowing concealed weapons in schools and take a vote. I support Councilman Lanni’s resolution. It is time for the Republicans to state their positions on this important issue.
Councilman Ward 1