2018-04-12 / News

Mello tabbed for task force on gun safety by governor

MELLO MELLO Ed Mello, Jamestown’s police chief who led the charge for a so-called red flag law in Rhode Island, has been appointed by Gov. Gina Raimondo to a working group on gun safety.

“There is a lot of room for improvement in Rhode Island in regards to school safety, mental treatment and communication with public safety officials,” he said.

Following the tragic Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., Raimondo became the first governor in the United States to take executive action to establish a statewide policy that disarms dangerous people.

Created alongside that measure was a working group with about four dozen members from law enforcement, mental health, public policy officials and academia. The group will be co-chaired by Dr. Megan Ranney, an emergency physician at Rhode Island Hospital, and James Manni, town manager in Narragansett. He is a former Secret Service agent and a retired major with the Rhode Island State Police.

“This is a complex issue with strong opinions on every side,” Manni said. “By bringing so many experts to the table and having an open and honest discussion about the steps we can take, I know we’ll be able to make a real difference for the people of Rhode Island.”

Phil Auger, superintendent of schools in North Kingstown, also was appointed to the task force. The group will meet monthly to develop recommendations that will counteract the epidemic of gun violence, such as identifying loopholes related to background checks. Members also will discuss strategies to prevent and prepare for mass shootings.

“Not a day has passed since the heartbreaking shooting in Parkland that these seventeen students and teachers haven’t been on my mind,” Raimondo said. “With Congress continuing to drag its feet, states need to step up and take action now to keep our communities safe.”

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