R.I. Senate passes “Red Flag” and bump stock ban bills

By: Sarah Rooney

Email: news@abc6.com

Twitter: @abc6

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – The Rhode Island Senate passed two bills Thursday to enact a “red flag” law and firearm bump stock ban.

One of the bills, put forth by Senator Maryellen Goodwin (D-R.I.), would allow judges to issue an extreme risk protection order, which bars individuals from procuring firearms based on past threats, actions, and warning signs.

Under the bill, these orders would be sent to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NISC). Individuals that violate the terms of an extreme risk protection order issued against them could face up to ten years in prison.

If the red flag bill is enacted, Rhode Island would become the sixth state to establish this type of law. The five other states that have enacted similar laws include California, Connecticut, Indian, Oregon, and Washington.

In a statement, Senator Goodwin stated:

“This legislation is a way to stop tragedies before they happen. Of course someone who has guns and is making serious threats to harm people with them should not be armed. Too often, after a mass shooting we learn about all the warning signs people saw from the shooter and wonder why they still had guns. But the truth is, there isn’t always a legal means to stop them. Our legislation provides a speedy but fair process to ensure that those who pose a legitimate risk do not remain armed.”

The other bill passed by the Senate includes provisions to ban firearm bump stocks, binary triggers, and trigger cranks.

Introduced by Senator James Seveney (D-R.I), the bill would make it against the law to own, transport, sell, make, or ship a semi-automatic weapon bump stock. Individuals who violate this law would face a fine of up to $10,000, up to ten years in prison, or both.

The bill would also prohibit any modification of a semi-automatic rifle that increases speed or the number of bullets fired with each trigger pull.

Senator Seveney provided the following statement:

“While federal law bans fully automatic weapons manufactured after May 19, 1986, the bump stock and other modifying devices do not technically make the weapon a fully automatic firearm, even though it allows a weapon to fire at nearly the rate of a machine gun. This law would effectively ban these horrific devices in Rhode Island.”

In a statement, R.I. Attorney General Peter Kilmartin announced his support of the bill:

“I applaud the Senate for taking an important step to enhance our gun safety laws public safety by establishing a legal process to keep firearms out of the hands of those who are a danger to themselves or others. While there is no one answer to ending the epidemic of gun violence in our country, I believe measured approaches such as the red flag law and banning bump stocks will improve public safety while also protecting the rights of legal gun owners.”

The bills will now be sent to the R.I. House, which has already passed related legislation.

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