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How often R.I. uses its ‘red flag’ gun law

Cranston has used the state’s “red flag” law the most since it was enacted in 2018, and nearly 10 communities have used it only once

As the country grapples with yet another mass shooting — this time, at a 4th of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois — the spotlight is once again on “red flag” laws that allow law enforcement to seize firearms from people deemed to be a risk to themselves or others.

Congress recently approved legislation that will provide federal funding to states that enact “red flag” laws, which Rhode Island has had in place since 2018.

Court records show that state and local police departments have used Rhode Island’s “red flag” law 128 times over the last four years, with the most recent case filed by the State Police last Tuesday.


In our state, law enforcement can seek “extreme risk protection orders” to seize someone’s weapons for an initial period of 14 days. The agency can ask a judge to extend those orders to one year after a hearing process. The orders are renewable.

Here’s a look at how many times law enforcement in Rhode Island’s cities and towns have used the state’s “red flag” law since 2018.

Cranston: 48

Cumberland: 13

Johnston: 10

Providence: 7

Coventry: 6

Rhode Island State Police: 6

Pawtucket: 4

Barrington: 3

Burrillville: 3

East Providence: 3

North Smithfield: 3

Woonsocket: 3

Bristol: 2

Narragansett: 2

South Kingstown: 2

Warwick: 2

West Warwick: 2

Central Falls: 1

East Greenwich: 1

Glocester: 1

Hopkinton: 1

Lincoln: 1

North Kingstown: 1

North Providence: 1

Warren: 1

Westerly: 1

This story first appeared in Rhode Map, our free newsletter about Rhode Island that also contains information about local events, data about the coronavirus in the state, and more. If you’d like to receive it via e-mail Monday through Friday, you can sign up here.

Dan McGowan can be reached at dan.mcgowan@globe.com. Follow him @danmcgowan.