RI House passes red flag bill and bump stock ban

Supporters of the Second Amendment protest against "red flag" legislation at the Rhode Island State House, Tuesday, April 10, 2018. (WJAR)

The Rhode Island House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a red flag bill Thursday night.

The legislation would enable police to take guns away from people deemed to be a threat to themselves or others. It also requires that police get a warrant from a Superior Court judge, and then provides for a hearing to determine if the person should be under an “extreme risk protective order.”

The Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a group that advocates for gun safety, was a driving force in the push for the bill.

A woman named Tara explained how important it is to get guns away from people, like her friend, who was suicidal.

“My friend took a rifle and shot himself in front of his grieving father,” she said during a news conference.

She added that there were plenty of warning signs.

“There was ample notice to take him to treatment,” she said.

House Speaker Nick Mattiello said the proposed law “makes sense.”

“We want to take guns and really any dangerous implement out of the hands of people that are a danger to themselves or others,” Mattiello said. “This is a pragmatic common-sense law.”

But civil liberty concerns still remain about taking guns from law abiding citizens based on some of the criteria in the bill.

“One of the triggering events is buying one firearm or multiple firearms -- and that’s perfectly legal now -- but a police officer might say, ‘That person might be a risk. They have a lot of firearms,’” Frank Saccocia of the Second Amendment Coalition told NBC 10 News.

The Senate is also working on a version of the bill, which could address some of those concerns.

A Superior Court judge must approve the order. A previous version of the bill would've allowed family members to file for protective orders as well.

Meanwhile, the House also voted to implement a statewide ban on bump stocks.

Bump stocks make a semi-automatic rifle mimic a fully automatic weapon.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off