Gabby Giffords Applauds Governor Raimondo For Signing Law That Will Help Prevent Domestic Abusers From Possessing Firearms

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October 5, 2017 — Today, Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, the Co-Founder of the gun violence prevention organization Americans for Responsible Solutions, applauded the signing by Governor Raimondo of a new bipartisan, commonsense bill into law, 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.

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords:

“Like so many others around the country, Rhode Island families know that guns and domestic violence are a deadly tragic mix. Rhode Island’s domestic violence survivors, advocates and public safety officials have long called for commonsense solutions to protect women and their families from abusers with guns. And today, Rhode Island’s leaders came together to pass a measure that helps make Rhode Island a safer place to live. I applaud Governor Raimondo for signing this bill and for adding 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.

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