Lawmakers are heading into the final days of the 2017 session and H.5510 has been scheduled for action on Wednesday. The bill had previously been "held for further study" after a wave of public testimony against the bill in the House Judiciary Committee. Now, it is clear that House leadership is intent on moving the bill. This is a dangerous time of year when the rules are typically suspended in both chambers and legislation can pass very quickly. H.5510 by Rep. Teresa Tanzi is gun control disguised as domestic violence legislation. This bill could result in lifetime gun bans for non-violent offenses and restraining orders with little in terms of due process protections.
Domestic violence is abhorrent, and convicted violent abusers should be harshly punished. Last year, the Rhode Island Legislature passed legislation that put state firearm restrictions in place for convicted felons. That legislation was signed into law and simply brought state law into conformity with existing federal law. However, this year, anti-gun groups are back pushing severely flawed "domestic violence legislation" which includes misdemeanor offenses and even restraining orders (where there has been no finding of guilt). There are serious due process concerns and imposing lifetime gun bans on persons without a finding of guilt is very dangerous. Federal and state law already place severe firearms restrictions on convicted violent abusers. However, H.5510 by Rep. Teresa Tanzi could easily result in innocent, law-abiding gun owners having their rights stripped. H.5510 is nothing more than the centerpiece of a national gun control agenda being bankrolled by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Anti-gun lawmakers will be closely monitoring the fate of this bill, and a bad result for gun owners will only embolden them to pass many of the other gun control bills which were introduced this session. Therefore, it is critical that gun owners make a strong showing of solidarity in opposition to this bill.
Please contact your state Representative immediately and respectfully ask that they oppose H.5510.