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Everytown, Rhode Island Moms, Domestic Violence Survivors, Legislators, and Lieutenant Governor Hold Advocacy Day at Capitol for Bill to Keep Guns Out of Domestic Abusers’ Hands

Poll Shows 4 Out 5 Rhode Islanders Support Legislation, Which Will Prohibit Convicted Domestic Abusers and Those Subject to Domestic Violence Protective Orders from Possessing Guns

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The Rhode Island chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, part of Everytown for Gun Safety, held an advocacy day today at the Capitol in support of S. 503 and H. 5655—legislation that would make it illegal for those convicted of domestic violence and those subject to domestic violence protective orders to possess guns.

The Moms were joined by a coalition that included Lieutenant Governor Daniel McKee; Senator Cynthia Coyne (D-32); Representative Teresa Tanzi (D-34), and Laura Hastings, a survivor of domestic violence and resident of Barrington.

“This legislative session, Rhode Island has the chance to take a big step to help women in our state who are at risk,” said Jennifer Smith Boylan, volunteer Chapter Leader of the Rhode Island Chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Thankfully we have nearly 10,000 Rhode Island Everytown supporters behind us, and the overwhelming support of the public—four out of five people in our state agree domestic abusers should not have access to guns.”

“During my two decades working in Rhode Island law enforcement, like all police officers, I saw the terrible toll of domestic violence,” said Senator Cynthia Coyne (D-32). “It is common sense that victims are much, much safer if their abusers do not have guns. In fact, research shows that women in domestic violence situations are five times more likely to be killed if a gun is present. This is something we need to address. And we need to address it now.”

“I’ve been an advocate for the safety of Rhode Island women for a long time,” said Representative Teresa Tanzi (D-34). “The most important thing we can do to help domestic violence victims is to keep guns out of the hands of their abusers. It is time for Rhode Island to join the list of proactive states that have addressed this problem—we need to pass H.5655 and S. 503.”

“Take it from someone who has experienced domestic violence firsthand—the last thing needed in a domestic violence situation is a gun,” said Laura Hastings, a domestic violence survivor and resident of Barrington. “Rhode Island continues to lag behind our neighbors in Connecticut and Massachusetts in denying domestic abusers access to guns. Let’s fix that by passing these bills.”

Recently, five Rhode Island mayors from cities representing hundreds of thousands of Rhode Islanders signed a letter urging lawmakers to pass S. 503 and H. 5655. “We know that we can both support the Second Amendment and do more to protect victims of domestic violence,” the letter states.

And last month, Everytown for Gun Safety Action fund and Rhode Island Moms Demand Action released a poll showing an overwhelming majority of Rhode Islanders support a bill to make it illegal for those convicted of domestic abuse or those under a domestic violence protective order to possess guns.