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9/20/2017 Rep. Amore praises passage of bill that takes guns away from domestic abusers
STATE HOUSE – Rep. Gregg Amore (D-Dist. 65, East Providence) is praising the passage of legislation (2017-H 5510Baa / 2017-S 0405Aaa) that will protect victims of domestic violence by disarming their abusers after the bill cleared the General Assembly last night. Representative Amore is a cosponsor of the legislation, which he has been championing since he was elected to the House of Representatives in 2012.

“It has been a long road of many years to finally see this legislation passed and I applaud Representative Tanzi, Senator Metts, the House leadership, and the Senate leadership for protecting the victims and survivors of domestic abuse in the state.  I am especially grateful that several protections that have been in the similar bills I have introduced since 2013 were also included in this new law.  Combined with my bill from a previous session that took guns away from domestic abuse felons, this legislation will continue our fight against the needless deaths resulting from the deadly mix of domestic violence and firearms,” said Representative Amore.

Rep. Teresa A. Tanzi praised Representative Amore on the House floor during the vote on the bill stating, “I want to thank my friend and colleague, Representative Amore, who led this fight before me, and with me, and it was his leadership on this issue that set us on this path to today.”

The Protect Rhode Island Families Act, sponsored by Representative Tanzi (D-Dist. 34, Narragansett, South Kingstown) and Sen. Harold M. Metts (D-Dist. 6, Providence), will prohibit gun possession by domestic abusers convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence crimes and those subject to court-issued final protective orders, and ensure that all those subject to the prohibition actually turn in their guns when they become prohibited from possessing them. The bill takes effect immediately upon passage.

Under current Rhode Island law, abusers convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence crimes and those subject to final restraining orders are not always prohibited from possessing guns nor are they always required to actually surrender the firearms they already possess once they become prohibited. Federal law already prohibits most of those convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors from owning guns, but Rhode Island does not have a mechanism for ensuring that they actually turn them in.

This bill would close these loopholes by requiring that abusers are prohibited under state law and are required to turn in their guns swiftly once they become prohibited from possessing them.

Under the bill, those convicted or pleading to a crime of domestic violence would have 24 hours to turn in any guns they possess. The act would apply to domestic violence crimes including assault, cyberstalking and cyberharrassment, violation of a protective order and disorderly conduct if the criminal act involves the use or attempted use of force or the threatened use of a dangerous weapon.

Similar laws prohibiting gun possession by those convicted of misdemeanor domestic abusers exist in 27 states plus Washington, D.C., including Alabama, Texas, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Hampshire.

The legislation will now be sent to the governor’s desk.

For more information, contact:
Andrew Caruolo, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903