Signed bill forces domestic abusers to hand over firearms

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Governor Gina M. Raimondo, joined by legislative sponsors and community advocates, recently ceremonially signed legislation prohibiting domestic abusers from possessing firearms.

The legislation was sponsored by Representative Teresa Tanzi in the House and Senator Harold Metts in the Senate, with strong support from Senate Judiciary Chairwoman Senator Erin Lynch Prata.

"Today marks the end of a long, hard-fought battle to ensure that firearms stay out of the hands of domestic abusers," said Raimondo. "The legislation I signed today will save lives. People who abuse their partners, their spouses, their kids should not have access to a firearm. It's that simple. I thank every legislator, community advocate and citizen who fought tirelessly over the past three years to make this happen. As we celebrate this milestone, let us honor those who lost their lives, and recommit ourselves to protecting all our citizens from deadly gun violence."

The Protect Rhode Island Families Act will require individuals with a final protective order issued against them or those convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense to physically surrender their firearms within 24 hours. The law provides clear instructions for how individuals may surrender their weapons, and outlines strict penalties for those who fail to do so. Five years after the completion of a sentence, defendants may request relief from prohibition from the court.

"This bill will save the lives of people who have already been through too much, and I'm very proud of that,” said Senator Metts (D-Dist. 6, Providence). “I'm also very proud of the way advocates from opposing interests came to the table and worked together so constructively to help make a bill something that we all can support. This was a great example of how the democratic process and compromise are supposed to work for the benefit of our citizens. While no one got everything they would like, I will say that everyone agreed that victims of domestic violence should not have to live under legitimate fear for their lives, and we've cooperated to come up with a bill that greatly improves their protection while addressing Second Amendment concerns."

Abused women are five times more likely to be killed if their abuser owns a firearm, and domestic violence assaults involving a gun are 12 times more likely to end in death than assaults with other weapons or physical harm, according to the Giffords Institute. Of the 232 Rhode Islanders who lost their lives to domestic violence from 1980 to 2016, 48 percent were killed by firearms.

"At last, victims of domestic abuse in Rhode Island will not have the constant fear of knowing that the person who abused them still has a gun,” said Representative Tanzi (D-Dist. 34, South Kingstown, Narragansett). “We've heard countless stories from victims about flagrant threats and ceaseless fear. And we know that the presence of a gun greatly increases the chances of a domestic violence victim being murdered. We've worked very hard to get to this point, and the reward will be greater safety for Rhode Island families."

Rhode Island joins 27 other states and the District of Columbia in prohibiting domestic abusers from owning firearms.

Comments

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Justanidiot

your rights are slowly being taken away.

Thursday, November 2
Kammy

Your rights are safe as long as you do not have a final protective order issued against you or have been convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense.

Thursday, November 2
Thecaptain

I guess this now means that convicted batterer Warwick DPW union rep Scott Small (aka CHUCKBONES) will have to turn over any weapons he may own. Maybe they can also seize his envelopes and stamps.

Defendant

SMALL, SCOTT

State ID

RI @10038643

1 SIMPLE ASSAULT/DOMESTIC 11-5-3(b) Misdemeanor

2 DISORDERLY CONDUCT/DOMESTIC 11-45-1(a) Misdemeanor

1 SIMPLE ASSAULT/DOMESTIC Criminal Sentence

Condition - Adult

1. Probation, 1Y, 04/12/2004, Active 04/12/2004

1. Batterers Intervention, 04/12/2004, Active 04/12/2004

1. Court Costs, 118.50, 04/12/2004, Active 04/12/2004

2.DISORDERLY CONDUCT/DOMESTIC Criminal Sentence

Condition - Adult

2. Probation, 6M, 04/12/2004, Active 04/12/2004

Condition - Adult

2. Batterers Intervention, 04/12/2004, Active 04/12/2004

Thursday, November 2
Justanidiot

" ...a final protective order issued against you or have been convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense."

I must have missed that language in the Second Amendment of the Constitution. Thanks for the update!

Thursday, November 2
RISchadenfreude

This law puts the burden on the respondent (accused/alleged abuser) to fight the Final Protective Order unless it's imposed without notice. Depending on the judge, one could have their firearms confiscated over an unsubstantiated or under-investigated accusation.

This law has been abused in other States by petitioners (alleged victims) who wish to make things difficult for their partners; attorneys are more than happy to file petitions that are baseless- after all, they're billing for it. Divorces and breakups are nasty, vindictive, private affairs which are aired in public, usually with both parties proclaiming loudly to anyone who will listen how the other party is evil incarnate and how they are blameless.

But I digress...abuse of this law could never happen in RI where we have absolute wizards in the legal profession and judiciary, not to mention the General Assembly and Governor's Office.

Friday, November 3