Red Flag and Bump Stock Ban Legislation Passes the RI House of Representatives

Friday, April 13, 2018


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Rep. Canario

The House of Representatives passed the “Red Flag” bill that would create a means for the courts to protect against people who pose a significant danger of causing imminent harm to themselves or others by possessing a gun.

Also being approved on Thursday night was Representative Robert Craven’s bill banning “bump stocks” on semi-automatic guns.

“As a retired police officer with more than 25 years of experience in the law enforcement field, recent tragic events have placed into focus the extreme dangers of having firearms in the hands of troubled individuals,” said Representative Dennis Canario.

"As Washington continues to drag its feet, Rhode Islanders are stepping up and taking decisive action to keep our communities safe. I thank Speaker Mattiello and members of the House for their action today to pass the Red Flag bill and legislation banning bump stocks. These common-sense reforms that will help keep guns away from people who are dangerous and help prevent other terrible tragedies like the Parkland and Las Vegas shootings. I'll continue to work closely with leadership and lawmakers in both the House and Senate on these important reforms and look forward to signing gun safety legislation as soon as it gets to my desk," said Governor Gina Raimondo in a statement. 

The bill will now be referred to the Senate.

The Bill

The “Red Flag” bill provides a course of action to prevent violence when people alert authorities about those who have shown warning signs that they intend to commit violence. Similar legislation is being considered in other states, particularly after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. 


The legislation creates the “extreme risk protective order” which would allow authorities to disarm threatening individuals while also protecting their right to due process. The order would prohibit an individual from possessing or purchasing guns, would require them to surrender guns in their possession and would invalidate any concealed carry permits they have. Violating such an order would be a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

The order would expire after one year, but could be renewed by the court. Those subject to an order could also petition once during the year to have it lifted.

Under the bill, law enforcement could petition the Superior Court for an extreme risk protection order if they believe the individual poses a significant danger of causing imminent personal injury to themselves or others by having a firearm. The petitioner must swear to an affidavit stating the specific statements, actions, or facts that support the motion.

A judge would determine whether to issue an order, considering many factors, including any recent acts or threats of violence, with or without a firearm, and patterns of such threats or acts in the previous year, and the individual’s mental health, substance abuse and criminal histories. The court would also consider any unlawful, threatening, or reckless use or brandishing of a firearm, including via social media, by the individual and evidence of any recent acquisition of a firearm.

The court may grant a temporary extreme risk protective order under a probable cause standard but must hold a hearing within 14 days to determine if a one-year extreme risk protection order should be issued. To grant a one year order, the court must find by clear and convincing evidence that the individual poses a significant danger of imminent injury to self or to others or himself if armed. 

When an individual is served with the order, he or she must immediately surrender all firearms and any concealed carry permit in his or her possession to police or a licensed gun dealer. Additionally, the court may issue a search warrant identifying firearms in the individual’s possession, custody or control. The order would be reported to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) and all state and federal databases used for determining whether those seeking to purchase guns have been prohibited from doing so.


Related Slideshow: RI ACLU’s Analysis of Red Flag Legislation - March 2018


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