The General Assembly passed The Protect Rhode Island Families Act (2017-H 5510Baa, 2017-S 0405Aaa) during the special session on Tuesday. The legislation 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 when Governor Gina Raimondo signs the bill, a bill she has vocally supported.
The Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence (RICAGV) issued a statement saying, in part, “We’ve worked hard for the past four years with our 96 partner organizations to get a law protecting domestic violence survivors from gun violence passed. We are gratified that in 2017 the General Assembly recognized that the domestic abuser’s right to bear arms ends where the domestic violence victim’s right to safety and security begins, and that the Second Amendment does not protect the right of domestic abusers to threaten or harm their victims with firearms.”
The bill passed because of the tireless efforts of the RICAGV, Moms Demand Action RI led by Jennifer Boylan (pictured, right), who were relentless in their advocacy.
“At last, victims of domestic abuse in Rhode Island will not have the constant fear of knowing that the person who abused them still has a gun,” said Representative Teresa Tanzi (Democrat, District 34, South Kingstown, Narragansett) who has championed the bill in the House for at least three years. “We’ve heard countless stories from victims about flagrant threats and ceaseless fear. And we know that the presence of a gun greatly increases the chances of a domestic violence victim being murdered. We’ve worked very hard to get to this point, and the reward will be greater safety for Rhode Island families.”
“We’ve worked hard for the past four years with our 96 partner organizations to get a law protecting domestic violence survivors from gun violence passed,” said RICAGV in their statement. “We are gratified that in 2017 the General Assembly recognized that the domestic abuser’s right to bear arms ends where the domestic violence victim’s right to safety and security begins, and that the Second Amendment does not protect the right of domestic abusers to threaten or harm their victims with firearms.
“We still have more work to do to keep Rhode Islanders safe from gun violence. The House and Senate Judiciary committees again failed to pass the No Guns in Schools bills (H5345/Kazarian, S0187/Metts) and High Capacity Magazine Ban bills (H5155/Regunberg, S0223/Goldin) out of committee, holding them for further study for the third straight year. Both these measures are supported by the overwhelming majority of Rhode Islanders, and the Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence will continue to fight for their passage in 2018.”
Those opposing the bill were not out in force at the State House. Below is Frank Saccoccio of the Rhode Island 2nd Amendment Coalition, the local arm of the National Rifle Association, and a supporter.
Sandy Hook denier and Info Wars reporter Don Bidondi was ignored by advocates for the bill when he stuck his camera in people’s faces. Here Donna Personeus blocks Bidondi’s camera with her sign as he peppers her with questions and comments she will not respond to.