Rhode Island is the first state in the nation to establish a “red flag” policy since the deadly high school shooting in Parkland, Florida earlier this month that killed 17 students and teachers.
Governor Gina Raimondo signed the executive order in an effort to curb gun violence in the state.
Flanked by law enforcement, and members of a gun-control advocacy group Raimondo said the policy will help get guns out of the hands of people suspected of considering gun violence.
“It will direct the Rhode Island State Police assess all red-flag reports and take whatever steps are legally available to remove the guns from dangerous individuals,” said Raimondo during the press conference Monday afternoon.
However, Rhode Island’s policy does not allow police to remove guns from a flagged individual. That action would require a court order, and a change in state law. Legislation to make that change is set to be introduced this week.
Neighboring Connecticut, as well as a handful of other states, already have similar policies. Others are currently considering them.
Rhode Island's executive order will also create a campaign to help citizens spot warning signs of violence in people they know.
“We need to raise awareness around the issue,” said Raimondo. “What is a red flag? What does that mean? How do you recognize it? And what do you do if a friend, or a family member, or neighbor is somebody that you think is capable of, and maybe on the verge of committing violence with a gun?”
Additionally, the executive order will convene a Working Group for Gun Safety to study gun violence reduction strategies. The members of this group will be appointed by the Governor. They'll drawn from various different areas, including affected families and youth.
Raimondo says she now is the time to act.
"Because frankly, we’re tired of waiting for the federal government to act,” said Raimondo. “We have been waiting, waiting, and waiting for congress to do the right thing, and we’re not going to let them off the hook,” said Raimondo.
Raimondo is still urging Congress to pass legislation that would ban military style weapons and close loopholes in background checks.
Last week, Raimondo joined governors from across the region in a new coalition to curb gun violence.