PROVIDENCE, RI — Warwick’s delegation to the state House of Representatives unanimously supported gun control measures that would ban bump stocks and allow courts to restrict gun ownership from people found to be a “significant danger” to others.
In separate votes on April 12, the six Warwick representatives voted in favor of the so-called ‘Red Flag’ bill, which creates an “extreme risk protective order” that courts could impose in response to petitions from law enforcement, and for a bill that would impose a 10-year prison sentence for owning bump stocks or modifying guns to fire more than one round at a time.
Gov. Gina Raimondo called on the Assembly to pass legislation to back up the executive order she signed in February directing the state police and other agencies to identify potentially violent threats.
According to a General Assembly press release, the ‘Red Flag’ bill “would allow authorities to disarm threatening individuals while also protecting their right to due process,” by requiring court hearings to decide whether a ban on gun ownership should be imposed.
Judges would be required to find “by clear and convincing evidence that the individual poses significant danger of imminent injury to self or to others if armed,” the bill states.
Factors that could be considered include prior threats or violent acts; mental health history; drug or alcohol abuse; ownership or access to guns; and past incidents of physical violence, stalking, and/or animal abuse.
If the court decides to impose the protective order, the subject of the order would be required to surrender their firearms and concealed carry permits, and prohibited from owning, buying, or possessing any guns for one year. The bill also requires a hearing after 14 days to confirm the one-year ban.
Majority Leader K. Joseph Shekarchi (D-Dist. 23) was among the sponsors of the bill and voted in favor, along with Reps. Joseph McNamara (D-Dist. 19), David Bennett (D-Dist. 20), Camille Vella-Wilkinson (D-Dist. 21), Joseph J. Solomon Jr. (D-Dist. 22) and Evan Shanley (D-Dist. 23). The bill passed by a 60-8 vote.
Also on April 12, the House approved the bump stock ban bill which prohibits gun modifications, including “binary triggers” which fire one round when pulled and another round when released, and hand-cranks that attach to triggers to fire multiple rounds.
Possession of the devices would be punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine or both.
With Shekarchi among the sponsors, the bump stock bill passed 65-3, with the Warwick delegation voting in favor.
Both bills now go to the state Senate. The Assembly is in recess this week, and scheduled to return on April 24.
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