If the abuser's gun is taken away as part of my restraining order, what will happen to it?
If the abuser is ordered to surrender his/her firearms as part of your restraining order, the judge will order him/her to surrender the possession of the firearm(s) to:
- someone who is not related to the defendant by blood, marriage, and is not an intimate partner1 (and this person is prohibited by law from returning the firearms to the abuser at any point while the restraining order is still valid);
- the Rhode Island state police or local police department; or
- a licensed gun dealer.1
The abuser must surrender the firearms within twenty-four hours of the receiving notice of the protective order. The abuser would then have to file proof with the court with 72 hours that s/he properly surrendered the firearms or that s/he does not have any firearms. After surrendering the firearms, s/he has the right to have a court hearing within 15 days for the judge to review the matter and to decide whether or not the firearms should stay surrendered or be returned to the abuser. At the hearing, the abuser has the burden of proving that s/he would not pose a danger to you (or to anyone else) if his/her firearm were returned. You will receive notice of the hearing and have the right to be present.2
1 RI Gen Laws §§ 8-8.1-3(a), (k), (m); 15-15-3(d)
2 RI Gen Laws §§ 8-8.1-3(c), (j); 15-15-3(b)