Police: Red flag law likely helped prevent tragedies

December 30, 2019 GMT

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Police in Rhode Island say a new red flag law has likely helped to prevent tragedies.

Since the red flag law took effect in June 2018 in Rhode Island, police across the state have invoked it 33 times as of Oct. 31, according to a newspaper’s analysis.

“Although the impact of the law is difficult to measure since it is preventative in nature, I believe that the removal of firearms and prevention of future purchases of firearms from individuals in Cranston, where extreme risk protection orders were granted by the court, likely averted potential tragedies,” Cranston Police Chief Michael Winquist told the Providence Journal on Sunday.

The red flag law allows law enforcement officials to file for an order to take guns away from people deemed to be imminent threats to themselves or others.

Cranston has used the law eight times; Cumberland, seven times; Woonsocket, three times, Warwick and Johnston, twice; 10 others towns have each used it once; and the state police used it twice, according to a Journal analysis.