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Rhode Island Moms Demand Action, Everytown Respond to Rhode Island Family Court Plans to Improve Process Disarming Domestic Abusers

Earlier This Month, Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund Released a Report Finding Substantial Gaps in the Family Court’s Implementation of the Protect Rhode Island Families Act

PROVIDENCE, R.I. —  Today, the Rhode Island chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, part of Everytown for Gun Safety, released the following statement in response to a report regarding the Rhode Island Family Court’s request for increased funding to create a domestic violence intake unit. The planned changes follow the death of Berta Bogran, who was shot and killed after filing a petition in Providence County Family Court seeking an Order of Protection against her estranged husband.

“It’s clear something went wrong in Ms. Bogran’s case, and we share the Rhode Island Family Court’s concern,” said Jennifer Boylan, a volunteer with the Rhode Island chapter of Moms Demand Action. “We welcome the announcement, but there are steps the Family Court can take immediately, without additional funding, that can save lives. It’s imperative that domestic abusers be disarmed with every final order of protection, as the 2017 law mandates.”

The Domestic Violence and Firearm Surrender in Rhode Island report evaluates the implementation of the Protect Rhode Island Families Act, a law passed in 2017 to disarm prohibited domestic abusers. The report recommends the following steps:

  • Judges should ensure that every final Order of Protection explicitly prohibits the defendant from possessing firearms and requires the defendant to surrender all firearms in their possession. 
  • Judges should explain firearms restrictions when issuing a final Order of Protection, including the fact that possession of a firearm by a person subject to a final Order of Protection is a crime under state law and that any firearms in the person’s possession must be relinquished as required by law.
     
  • Judges should monitor whether defendants have surrendered firearms and enforce court orders with appropriate remedies.