Brett Smiley, running for the position of Mayor of Providence in this September’s Democratic primary isn’t letting the fact that he hasn’t been elected stop him from coming forward with some bold new initiatives.

Tuesday morning found Smiley in the State House rotunda with State Senator Gayle Goldin proposing a bill that upon passage would impose a 10% tax on all gun and ammunition sales in the state. Representative Maria Cimini, who was unable to attend the press conference, will introduce the bill in the house.

The bill promises to allocate all funds raised from this tax (estimated by Smiley to be about $2 million) to every town and city police department based proportionally on the prevalence of crime in each area, and then each police department will further allocate the money to non-profits with a demonstrated commitment to reducing crime and violence.

Said Smiley, “Just like we expect the tobacco industry and those who support it to pay for public health initiatives, the firearms industry and those who prop it up should be paying to keep our streets safe.”

Senator Goldin pointed out that, “This is a different approach,” adding, “I will certainly be working hard to get this passed.”

Currently, no state has imposed a special tax on guns or ammunition, and only Cook County, Illinois has imposed a special tax on guns. In that sense this legislation marks a new kind of thinking when dealing with gun violence on a state level.

“The damage done by guns legally and illegal [obtained] imposes a cost on society and this [bill] is one way to pay that cost,” said Smiley, “Gun violence has been a plague on our community for many years, and solutions to address this issue deserve long term commitments from all of us who seek to serve the community.”

By Steve Ahlquist on Rhode Island Future