Press Release

ARS Applauds The Rhode Island Legislature For Advancing Lifesaving Bill That Would Help Prevent Domestic Abusers From Possessing Firearms, Urges Governor Raimondo To Sign The Bill

September 20, 2017 — Americans for Responsible Solutions, the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Navy combat veteran and NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, issued the below statement applauding the Rhode Island Legislature for advancing a commonsense bill, the “Protect Rhode Island Families Act (HB 5510),” which prohibits people subject to domestic violence protective orders from possessing firearms and establishes a process for domestic abusers to physically relinquish their firearms.

Nico Bocour, State Legislative Manager, Americans for Responsible Solutions:

“This week, leaders in Providence listened to local advocates and voted to protect Rhode Island families and neighbors by advancing a proposal that will close the dangerous gap in state law that gives domestic abusers easy access to firearms. This positive step forward will help keep guns out of dangerous hands and will save lives. We urge Governor Raimondo to sign this responsible legislation and add Rhode Island’s name to the growing list of states that have passed legislation that protects women and their families from gun violence.”

About The “Protect Rhode Island Families Act”

This bill would strengthen and improve enforcement of Rhode Island’s laws regarding domestic abusers’ access to firearms by:

  • Prohibiting individuals from acquiring or possessing guns if they have been convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor that involved the use or threatened use of force, or the threatened use of a dangerous weapon, against a family or household member. Unlike federal law, Rhode Island does not currently prohibit domestic violence misdemeanants from possessing or acquiring guns. In fact, the state only acted last year to prohibit individuals convicted of domestic violence offenses punishable as felonies. This bill would close that gap and also extend this new prohibition to individuals convicted of cyberstalking or cyber harassment offenses under RI law, and to individuals who have been convicted of a misdemeanor for knowingly violating a domestic violence protective order.

  • Strengthening existing relinquishment procedures for abusers. Current Rhode Island law only authorizes courts to prohibit abusers subject to a domestic violence protective order from accessing or acquiring firearms.

About Rhode Island’s Gun Laws

Rhode Island has consistently been a national leader in gun violence prevention, regularly scoring high marks in the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence’s annual Gun Law State Scorecard. Rhode Island requires a background check prior to the transfer of a firearm between individuals not licensed as firearms dealers and requires firearms dealers to obtain a license, and handgun purchasers to first obtain a safety certificate. The state also requires firearm owners to report the loss or theft of their firearms.

Learn more about gun laws in Rhode Island here.