Legislation by Senator Harold Metts and Representative Teresa Tanzi Would Close Gaps in Rhode Island Law That Allow Domestic Abusers Access to Guns
Previous Everytown Research Found That Rhode Island Courts Ordered Abusers Subject to Final Protective Orders To Turn In Their Guns In Just Five Percent of Cases
PROVIDENCE, RI – The Rhode Island chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, part of Everytown for Gun Safety, today released the following statements in support of legislation reintroduced last week by Senator Harold Metts and Representative Teresa Tanzi that would keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. The bill would prohibit gun possession by people convicted of domestic abuse crimes and people currently subject to domestic abuse protective orders. It would also require domestic abusers to turn in their guns to law enforcement or to gun dealers once they become prohibited.
STATEMENT FROM JENNIFER SMITH BOYLAN, VOLUNTEER WITH THE RHODE ISLAND CHAPTER OF MOMS DEMAND ACTION FOR GUN SENSE IN AMERICA:
“Senator Metts and Representative Tanzi deserve our praise for reintroducing this legislation. In doing so, they are standing up for the safety of Rhode Island women and families. When this bill was introduced last year, I said it was ‘common sense that people convicted of domestic abuse crimes and under protective orders shouldn’t have access to guns’ and that remains just as true today. I’m confident that this year our lawmakers in Providence will enact this critically important legislation.”
STATEMENT FROM THE HONORABLE FRANCIS J. DARIGAN, FORMER JUSTICE OF THE RHODE ISLAND SUPERIOR COURT:
“This bill is aimed at providing much-needed protection for victims of domestic violence. In my 28 years as a trial judge in the Superior Court, I have witnessed firsthand the long-lasting and life changing-effects these crimes have on their victims. Passage of this bill would align Rhode Island with federal statutes and the statutes of 25 other states and give much-needed protection to thousands of victims of gun related domestic violence. I urge the General Assembly to robustly debate this bill and pass meaningful legislation in this session. The victims and the people of this state deserve nothing less.”
Last year, similar legislation stalled in the State House, but this year’s bills have new momentum after a task force convened by Governor Gina Raimondo recommended their passage.
- Rhode Island courts rarely order abusers subject to final protective orders to turn in their guns. A 2015 report from Everytown for Gun Safety that reviewed more than 1,600 final protective orders found that courts required abusers to turn in their firearms in just five percent of cases.
- Even when the records indicated a firearm threat, courts ordered abusers to turn in their guns in less than 13 percent of cases. As a result, 325 abusers who appeared to have access to firearms were not ordered to turn them in.
- Twenty-six states and Washington D.C. prohibit people convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors from having guns.
- Twenty-five states and Washington D.C. prohibit people subject to domestic violence restraining orders from having guns.
- According to 2010 research by professors at Johns Hopkins University and Michigan State University, states that restrict access to firearms by those subject to domestic violence restraining orders see a 25 percent reduction in intimate partner gun homicides.