“As a volunteer leader for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense In America, I am very pleased to see Rep Tanzi’s bill that takes guns away from dangerous domestic abusers pass out of committee in the RI House of Representatives,” said Jennifer Boylan, “Over the last 3 years, there has been undeniable support and need for this bill. Advocates, law enforcement, and policy experts all supported it. The momentum around the bill in the capitol is strong, and and I am very pleased to see that the House Judiciary Committee did the right thing for survivors and victims of domestic abuse.”
The House Judiciary Committee last night voted to send Representative Teresa Tanzi (Democrat, District 34, Narragansett, South Kingstown)’s bill to take guns out of the hands of domestic abusers to the floor for a full vote by the Rhode Island House of Representatives. This is the first substantial piece of gun legislation to pass out of committee since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in neighboring Connecticut and a major victory for advocates of gun control in the state. Only five representatives, Cale Keable, Sherry Roberts, Justin Price, Patricia Morgan and Blake Filippi voted against the measure. Keable is the chair of the committee and the only Democrat to oppose the bill.
The bill was significantly altered before passage. A lifetime ban on the possession of guns was reduced to five years, for instance, but advocates were able to accept the changes. In the video below legal counsel to the committee explains the changes in the legislation in painstaking detail:
After 45 minutes of discussion, the vote went by so fast most people were unsure of who voted and how.
Perhaps the most controversial aspect of the bill, from the point of view of gun rights advocates, was what Representative Filippi called the “civil restraining order” which would mandate that guns be given up by perpetrators of domestic violence.
“I don’t know what other constitutional rights… can be taken away from you by the preponderance of the evidence standard with no discretion by the court?” asked Filippi. Attempts to answer the question by Representatives Jason Knight and Carol Hagan McEntee did not seem to satisfy Filippi.
Below are all the comments made by all the Representatives ahead of the committee vote.