The ‘Protect Rhode Island Families Act’ Will Protect Victims of Domestic Abuse by Helping to Keep Guns Out of the Hands of Convicted Domestic Abusers
Gun Lobby Defeated by Coalition of Moms Demand Action Volunteers, Law Enforcement, Mayors and Survivors
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The Rhode Island chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, part of Everytown for Gun Safety, today applauded Speaker Mattiello and members of the Rhode Island Legislature for passing, the “Protect Rhode Island Families Act,” today. The bill passed after years of grassroots activity by the Rhode Island chapter of Moms Demand Action. The legislation, sponsored and championed by Rep. Teresa Tanzi. It now moves to the desk of Governor Raimondo.
Even though the presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation makes it five times more likely that a woman will be killed, research by Everytown for Gun Safety shows that only five percent of domestic abusers under a final protection from abuse order in Rhode Island are required to turn in their guns. A new study published Monday adds to a growing body of research on the impact of DV firearm relinquishment laws. Researchers from the Boston University School of Public Health found that state laws requiring firearm relinquishment for people under DV protection orders are associated with a 14% lower rate of intimate partner firearm homicide.
Under current Rhode Island law, abusers convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence crimes and abusers who are subject to final restraining orders are not always prohibited from possessing guns nor are they always required to surrender their firearms once they become prohibited. The Protect Rhode Island Families Act will close these loopholes by requiring that these abusers are prohibited under state law and are required to turn in their guns once they become prohibited from possessing them.
STATEMENT FROM JENNIFER BOYLAN, VOLUNTEER WITH THE RHODE ISLAND CHAPTER OF MOMS DEMAND ACTION FOR GUN SENSE IN AMERICA:
“The common-sense policies enacted in this groundbreaking legislation will help prevent gun violence and keep women and families safe. The Rhode Island chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America has fought tirelessly for this bill for three straight years. I couldn’t be prouder that today our legislators stood with Rhode Island families, law enforcement and gun violence survivors in support of this life-saving bill. I’m particularly grateful to Representative Teresa Tanzi and SenatorHarold Metts for sponsoring the Protect Rhode Island Families Act, and for Speaker Nicholas Mattiello for prioritizing its passage to help ensure the safety of families across the state. The nearly unanimous support from both chambers, and public support by both the Speaker and the Senate President, shows real leadership and proves that our elected leaders heard us. We also applaud the governor for her commitment to take this life-saving legislation across the finish line.”
Volunteers from the Rhode Island chapter of Moms Demand Action started working on domestic violence prevention legislation during the 2015 legislative session. They testified at numerous hearings, coordinated large digital campaigns, relentlessly lobbied state legislators and wrote countless letters and op-eds for newspapers throughout the Ocean State.