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Red flag bill, bump stocks ban now law

Governor signs bills passed by General Assembly yesterday

STATE HOUSE – Following passage by the General Assembly yesterday, Gov. Gina M. Raimondo today signed into law two bills to prevent gun violence and mass shootings: “red flag” legislation that allows courts to disarm individuals who are believed by law enforcement to represent a violent threat to themselves or others, and a ban on bump stocks and other rapid-fire gun modifications.

The first bill, sponsored in the Senate by Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin and in the House by Rep. Dennis M. Canario, is known as a “red flag” law because it allows police to seek from Superior Court an “extreme risk protective order” that prohibits an individual from possessing firearms, based on threats and other warning signs that the person might commit violence.

“With this new law, we can truly prevent tragedies. People who are demonstrably unstable and are making serious threats should not be armed. All 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. Unfortunately, it’s frequently because there isn’t always a legal means to disarm them. Finally, here in our state and in others that have been adopting red flag laws, we will have a speedy but fair process to ensure that those who pose a legitimate risk do not remain armed,” said Senator Goodwin (D-Dist. 1, Providence).

Said Representative Canario (D-Dist. 71, Portsmouth, Little Compton, Tiverton), “This new law will disarm those who pose a serious threat for the protection of children and the public. As a retired police officer with more than 25 years of experience in the law enforcement field, I thank my fellow officers for their leadership and commitment to addressing this critical situation. With this new law, we have an important means of stopping troubled individuals from carrying out violence and preventing tragic events.”

The governor signed the bills in a State House ceremony today, flanked by House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, Senate President Dominick Ruggerio, both cosponsors of the red flag bill, and other legislators. The event was attended by gun safety advocates, many of whom wore orange in recognition of National Gun Violence Awareness Day.

“Since I’ve been governor, I’ve had to lower the state flag to half-staff 10 times because of mass shootings. The red flag law and bump stock ban will go a long way to prevent that kind of tragedy in Rhode Island and will make our state safer,” said Governor Raimondo. “Rhode Islanders are not going to wait for Washington to take action on gun violence. I appreciate the General Assembly’s leadership to pass these bills and I’m proud to sign them to send a loud and clear signal that Rhode Islanders will not stand for gun violence.”

Under the red flag law (2018-S 2492A, 2018-H 7688Aaa), an extreme risk protective order will prohibit an individual from possessing or purchasing guns, will require them to surrender guns in their possession and will invalidate any concealed carry permits they have. The order will be reported to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) and all state and federal lists used for determining whether those seeking to purchase guns have been prohibited from doing so. Violating such an order would be a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

The order would be in place for one year, but could be renewed by the court. Those subject to one could also petition once per year to have them lifted.

Under the legislation, a law enforcement agency can petition Superior Court for an extreme risk protection order if it believes the individual poses a significant danger of causing imminent injury to himself or others by having a firearm. The petitioner must state to the court the specific statements, actions, or facts that give rise to a reasonable fear of future dangerous acts by that individual, and must concurrently file for a search warrant to search for any weapons the individual possesses.

Upon the filing for an order, the court may issue temporary extreme risk protective order, similar to a temporary restraining order, if the court finds probable cause to believe the individual poses an imminent threat to others or himself if armed.

A judge would determine at a hearing whether to issue an extreme risk protection order, considering
any recent acts or threats of violence with or without a firearm and patterns of such threats or acts in the previous year, and the individual’s mental health, substance abuse and criminal histories. The court would also consider any unlawful, threatening, or reckless use or brandishing of a firearm by the individual and evidence of any recent acquisition of a firearm.

Such legislation could have helped to prevent the Parkland, Fla., school shooting Feb. 14. Police say the alleged shooter carried out the attack with a legally purchased semi-automatic weapon. Before the shooting, his mother had contacted law enforcement about his behavior on multiple occasions, but Florida did not have a red flag law. It has since passed one.

According to Everytown for Gun Safety, a national advocacy group that supports the bill, a nationwide study of mass shootings from 2009 to 2016 showed that in least 42 percent of those incidents, there is documentation that the attacker exhibited dangerous warning signs before the shooting.

Connecticut, California, Indiana, Oregon and Washington enacted red flag laws prior to this year, and since the Parkland shooting, so have Florida, Maryland and Vermont.

The other bill (2018-H 7075Aaa, 2018-S 2292A), sponsored by Rep. Robert E. Craven and Sen. James A. Seveney, bans bump stocks, binary triggers and trigger cranks on semi-automatic weapons.

A bump stock is an attachment that allows the shooter to fire a semi-automatic weapon with great rapidity. It replaces a rifle’s standard stock, freeing the weapon to slide back and forth rapidly, harnessing the energy from the kickback shooters feel when the weapon fires.

In October’s mass shooting in Las Vegas, 12 of the rifles in the gunman’s possession were modified with a bump stock, allowing the weapon to fire about 90 shots in 10 seconds — a much faster rate than the AR-15 style assault rifle used by the Orlando nightclub shooter, which fired about 24 shots in nine seconds.

“With the enactment of this law, we are clearly stating that Rhode Island will not tolerate these dangerous tools of death. There is now no ambiguity; No one can buy, possess, attach or use a bump stock, trigger crank or binary crank in Rhode Island,” said Representative Craven (D-Dist. 32, North Kingstown).

Said Senator Seveney, (D-Dist. 11, Portsmouth, Bristol, Tiverton), “These devices are all ways to get around the federal law that bans fully automatic weapons by making semi-automatic weapons fire almost as fast as them. Today, we stop this end run and ban these horrific devices in Rhode Island.”

The new law makes it unlawful to possess, transport, manufacture, ship or sell a bump stock, regardless of whether the person is in possession of a firearm. Those violating the provisions, would face imprisonment for up to 10 years, a fine up to $10,000, or both. It would also make it unlawful and apply the same penalties for any person to modify any semi-automatic weapon to shoot full automatic fire with a single pull or hold of the trigger.

The new law also bans binary triggers, which is a device designed to fire one round on the pull of the trigger and another round upon release of the trigger, effectively doubling the weapon’s shooting capabilities; and trigger cranks, which attach to the trigger of a semi-automatic weapon and cause the weapon to fire by turning the crank handle.

Both bills have the support of Governor Raimondo, Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin, General Treasurer Seth Magaziner, the State Police, the Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence, the Rhode Island chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America (a part of Everytown) and the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

“Rhode Island has taken an important step in protecting its citizens from gun violence with the passage of the red flag law and banning bump stocks,” said Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin. “I applaud the leadership of the Rhode Island Police Chiefs Association for their advocacy on the red flag legislation, the General Assembly for the urgency in which they took up the measure, and the governor for signing it into law today. Until now, law enforcement’s hands have been tied when they come into contact with someone they believe is a danger to themselves and others. With the red flag law, we now have a legal process, with protections for individuals, to keep firearms out of the hands of dangerous individuals. Unfortunately, even in just the weeks that these bills were being discussed, we saw new incidents of gun violence, both nationally and closer to home. While the steps Rhode Island has taken today won’t eradicate the problem, it will provide additional tools to enhance public safety.”

Jennifer Boylan, a volunteer leader with the Rhode Island chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, said, “The legislature prioritizing these bills and Gov. Raimondo’s swift signing of them today, along with last year’s enactment of lifesaving domestic violence legislation demonstrates that Rhode Island is joining the ranks of states leading the fight to prevent gun violence. Once again, our lawmakers have listened to the majority of Rhode Islanders and taken action to protect our families and keep our communities safe. These bills will save lives and we are so proud to see them signed into law.”

“The Rhode Island State Police strongly supports any legislation that will help us save lives,” said Colonel Ann C. Assumpico, superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police and director of the Department of Public Safety. “These two new laws will help us in our efforts to keep deadly weapons out of the hands of dangerous individuals who pose a threat to our troopers, other law enforcement officers and the communities we are sworn to protect.”

“The root of the problem and the resulting tragedies all across this country reaffirms why we need sensible gun legislation and mental health reform,” said Central Falls Colonel James J. Mendonca, president of the Rhode Island Police Chiefs Association. “The signing of this bill goes a long way in tackling both issues in a sensible, responsible manner that balances an individual’s constitutional rights with maintaining public safety.”

For more information, contact:
Meredyth R. Whitty, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 222-1923

Trains To Planes: The Best Way to Beat Air Show Traffic

U.S. Navy Blue Angels bring large crowds and traffic jams

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) today announced the return of free train service to the Rhode Island National Guard Open House and Air Show on June 9 and 10 at the Quonset Business Park in North Kingstown. The train service provides a hassle-free way to get to one of Rhode Island’s most heavily attended summer events.

Nearly 8,000 people took advantage of RIDOT’s “Trains to Planes” during the past two years when attendance was light compared to busier years when popular national and international jet performance teams have come to Rhode Island. This year’s headliner, the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, are expected to generate significant crowds and traffic.

“Being stuck in long lines of traffic has been part of the experience for the Air Show, and we’re proud to deliver a solution that helps reduce congestion and delays,” RIDOT Director Peter Alviti, Jr. “This event is shaping up to be busier than it has been for the past few years – another great reason to take the train and leave the driving to us.”

“We’re extremely pleased to be hosting the 2018 Open House Air Show and to be continuing the service and relationship with the Rhode Island Department of Transportation,” said Brig. Gen. Arthur Floru, Director, Joint Staff for the Joint Force Headquarters, Rhode Island National Guard. “Our goal is to provide a safe and secure environment, and the ‘Trains to Planes’ service provides a hassle-free way to visit the Air Show while alleviating heavy traffic near Quonset. We hope that folks take advantage of this service as we open our gates to the community, and show what their Rhode Island National Guard does for the state and nation.”

RIDOT will have a robust schedule allowing Air Show attendees a choice among Providence, T.F. Green or Wickford Junction Stations. Early morning and mid-day trains to the show are available, as well as later departures from the show for those who stay to the very end.

Attendees can catch the train at Providence Station, at 100 Gaspee St., Providence; T.F. Green Station, at 700 Jefferson Boulevard, Warwick; or Wickford Junction Station, at 1011 Ten Rod Road, North Kingstown. Train riders will receive a color-coded hand stamp to indicate their return station, and RIDOT will have staff on-site at the Air Show to direct riders to the proper departure times based on the station they came from.

View the Full Train Schedule Here

Free parking is available at T.F. Green and Wickford Junction stations, and the State Offices complex parking lots will have free parking for those leaving from Providence Station. Space is limited. Attendees will be asked to consider making a donation to Hasbro Children’s Hospital when they arrive at the Air Show. No restrooms will be available on the trains.

The same rules regarding what attendees can bring into the Air Show are also in effect on the trains. Backpacks, coolers, bicycles and pets are not allowed. Attendees traveling on the train are asked to bring only collapsible camp chairs. More information on items you can and can’t bring with you into the Air Show are listed online at www.rhodeislandairshow.com.

Trains to Planes is provided by RIDOT, working in conjunction with the R.I. National Guard, the National Guard Association of Rhode Island, the Rhode Island Airport Corporation, the Quonset Development Corporation, Seaview Railroad, Amtrak, and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA).

Note: RIDOT and the National Guard will be available to speak with media about this year’s Trains to Planes service at Providence Station today at 1 p.m. The Station is located at 100 Gaspee St., Providence.

Save The Bay Launches “Litter Free Pledge” Campaign

     PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Friday, June 8 – Today, Save The Bay launches the Litter Free Pledge, a new campaign aimed at reducing litter across the Narragansett Bay watershed, a 1,754-square-mile region stretching from Worcester and Brockton in Massachusetts to Newport and Narragansett in Rhode Island. The Litter Free Pledge invites Rhode Island and Massachusetts residents alike to visit litterfreepledge.com to take the Litter Free Pledge and refrain from contributing even the smallest piece of litter to the local landscape. The Litter Free Pledge campaign’s promotional efforts, coordinated with partner WPRI-TV, also include a #LitterFreePledge social media initiative and a public service announcement.

Individuals taking the #LitterFreePledge are encouraged to post the pledge, their own “I took the pledge!” videos, or one of the campaign’s many “Take Action” tips, on social media; share the information with their families, friends and coworkers; and promote the idea that every piece of litter, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, adds up. After all, in 2017, on one day of cleanups alone, volunteers collected 42,124 pieces of plastic and foam from Rhode Island beaches—not to mention the 36,575 cigarette butts and 22,435 food wrappers.

“One of the difficulties with the issue of litter is that there are so many disposable products out there,” said Save The Bay’s Volunteer and Intern Manager July Lewis. “Many people who don’t think of themselves as litterers still occasionally let a bottle cap drop or don’t bother to chase down a cup that blows out of their hand on a windy day.

“But if every person in the Narragansett Bay watershed dropped just one straw a year, that would be almost two million straws, many of which would end up in the ocean! That’s why the Litter Free Pledge is important,” she said.

Litter has a negative impact on its surroundings the moment it lands. It is a threat both to wildlife and to the health of our waterways, and it negatively impacts tourism and recreation.

“No one wants to see litter in their neighborhoods, in their parks, or on their beaches,” said Lewis. “Save The Bay volunteers have spent countless hours at hundreds of beach cleanups, only to see litter return. The ocean is where a lot of trash ends up, but litter is a problem everywhere.”

The Litter Free Pledge was born from the desire to protect all communities from the persistent presence of litter, which is why campaign organizers are inviting businesses, schools, scouts and community organizations across Rhode Island and Massachusetts to take and make it their own. Partner toolkits including editable logos, social media suggestions and printables are available for download at litterfreepledge.com/partnerships.

Organizations interested in participating in the Litter Free Pledge campaign, or supporting the campaign as a sponsor, should contact July Lewis at jlewis@savebay.org.

Individuals interested in getting further involved with the Litter Free Pledge can learn about volunteer opportunities at litterfreepledge.com/join-a-cleanup.

Birds of the Bay Soar at the Save The Bay Exploration Center and Aquarium this June

NEWPORT, R.I. – June 4, 2018 – Save The Bay’s Exploration Center and Aquarium soars into June by turning a spotlight on our feathered friends, the Birds of the Bay. Visitors to the aquarium in June will learn about the local birds that frequent the blue waters of Narragansett Bay through hands-on crafts, a story hour, a scavenger hunt and the chance to win aquarium-themed prizes. With Memorial Day weekend behind us, the Exploration Center and Aquarium on Easton’s Beach in Newport has resumed summer hours and is now open daily, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

More than 200 bird species from all over the world flock annually to Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay. Birds such as the great egret, osprey and the piping plover frequent the shoreline and feed on native fish and invertebrate species, some of which are housed in Save The Bay’s Exploration Center and Aquarium’s tanks. Guests can enjoy a reading of the children’s book, “Where Did All the Water Go?” by Carolyn Stearns, before building their very own bird out of recycled materials, embarking on an aquarium-wide search for bird posters and even winning prizes.

While visitors at the aquarium are learning about local birds, they can also meet the aquarium’s newest arrivals, including a brilliant red sea raven, an electric northern stargazer, frilled anemones and two newborn smooth dogfish sharks.

The Exploration Center and Aquarium is located in the Easton’s Beach Rotunda at 175 Memorial Blvd. in Newport, Rhode Island. The center is open daily 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Memorial Day – Labor Day. General admission is $8 with discounts for military and senior citizens. Save The Bay Family Members can enjoy FREE admission for two adults and up to four children. For more information about the Exploration Center and Aquarium, visit savebay.org/aquarium or call 401-324-6020. The Exploration Center and Aquarium is supported, in part, by Corvias Solutions.

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