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Rhode Island Moms, Mayors Testify at State House in Favor of Legislation to Keep Guns Away From Domestic Abusers

March 23, 2016

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 – Flanked by dozens of supporters, three members of the Rhode Island chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, part of Everytown for Gun Safety, and Central Falls Mayor James Diossa, a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, testified at the State House yesterday in support of legislation to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. If enacted, SB 2767, introduced by Senator Harold Metts, and its companion, HB 7575, sponsored by Representative Teresa Tanzi, would prohibit gun possession by people convicted of domestic abuse crimes and people subject to domestic abuse protective orders. The legislation would also require prohibited domestic abusers to turn in their guns to law enforcement or to gun dealers upon becoming prohibited and received strong backing from Governor Gina Raimondo.

“We must do more to protect victims of domestic abuse from gun violence, and to keep Rhode Islanders safe. So I write in support of House Bill 7575, which is before the House Committee on Judiciary,” said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. “Gun violence has affected too many families across our country – it’s unacceptable, it’s hurting our children and our communities, and we should take action to address it.”

“The reason I came to the capitol is very simple: keeping guns out of the wrong hands is the right thing to do and keeping women and children safe by making sure domestic abusers are required to turn in their guns is critically important for public safety in Rhode Island,” said Jennifer Smith Boylan, a volunteer with the Rhode Island Chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “People who are subject to protective orders should not be armed and dangerous. I’m hopeful that the three Moms members who testified Tuesday, and the dozens more who came to the State House to support HB 7575 and SB 2767, will help convince state legislators that passing this legislation should be a major priority in Providence. Our members came from across the state for the second straight year to make clear that we won’t back down until our leaders pass this bill.”

“Domestic violence and gun violence are serious issues that affect far too many communities across this nation,” said James Diossa, Mayor of Central Falls and a member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns coalition. “The Protect Rhode Island Families Act puts forth a responsible policy solution that further safeguards victims of domestic violence and their families.”

Similar legislation was introduced during last spring’s legislative session. Late last year, Governor Gina Raimondo convened a task force consisting of state legislators, advocates, and members of law enforcement to explore possible solutions to domestic abuse in the state. The task force recommended passage of the legislation.


  • 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.

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