Protect Rhode Island Families Act

Governor Raimondo Signs Important Gun Safety Law Protecting Domestic Violence Victims and Their Families

Thanks to all RICAGV members, partners and Rhode Island citizens who gave their time and/or money to support this important legislation.

We couldn’t have done it without you!

The Protect Rhode Island Families Act extends the law regarding domestic abusers by barring access to firearms when an individual is:

  • Convicted of a crime of violence, including a misdemeanor that involves the use or attempted use of force, or the threatened use of a dangerous weapon, against a family or household member;
  • Under certain types of domestic restraining orders or protective orders.

The individual is required to relinquish any firearm(s) in their possession to the proper authorities, and attest this fact to the court along with a proper receipt of surrender.

Gun Violence Survivors Demonstrate at the RI State House

Rhode Island Makes it Harder for Abusers to Access Guns

The Protect Rhode Island Families Act has eliminated federal and state legislative gaps that had made it harder to protect victims of domestic violence and their families. Passage extends and strengthens our laws by:

Adding Misdemeanors

Misdemeanants of domestic violence crimes are barred from purchasing or possessing guns; crimes include using or threatening to use force, crimes involving dangerous weapons, cyberharrassment, and cyberstalking.

More on Misdemeanors

Abused women are five times more likely to be killed by their abuser if the abuser owns a firearm.

Federal law contains loopholes for domestic violence misdemeanants in R.I.

Currently there are 27 states that have laws that specifically prohibit firearm purchase or possession by people convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence offences; unfortunately R.I. IS NOT one of them.

Source: Domestic Violence and Firearms; Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence; http://smartgunlaws.org/gun-laws/policy-areas/who-can-have-a-gun/domestic-violence-firearms/

Adding Protective Orders

Individuals who are the subject of a protective order for a domestic violence crime will be prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm.

More on Protective Orders

States that restrict access to firearms by these abusers see a 25% reduction in intimate partner gun deaths.

Federal law prohibits people who are the subject of protective orders from purchasing or possessing firearms or ammunition, however only if the protective order was issued after notice to the abuser and a hearing, and only if the victim falls within a narrow definition of an “intimate partner.”

36 states have broadened this prohibition for various reasons; Rhode Island IS NOT one of them.

Source: Domestic Violence and Firearms; Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence; http://smartgunlaws.org/gun-laws/policy-areas/who-can-have-a-gun/domestic-violence-firearms/

Requiring Gun Surrender

Misdemeanants, felons, AND individuals subject to a final protective order will be required to surrender all firearms to appropriate authorities.

More on Gun Surrender

In 2017 more than 380 people have been killed by their intimate partners in domestic-violence-related shootings.

Federal law bars convicted abusers from buying a gun, but does not explicitly requires existing guns to be surrendered to authorities.

States that require domestic abusers to surrender their guns have, on average, a 9.7% lower intimate-partner homicide rate.

Rhode Island IS NOT one of the 14 states that require abusers to surrender their guns.

Source: TheTrace.org; State Gun-Surrender Laws Linked to Lower Rates of Fatal Domestic Violence; http://smartgunlaws.org/gun-laws/policy-areas/who-can-have-a-gun/domestic-violence-firearms/