Study finds guns remain with domestic violence suspects

PROVIDENCE, RI – People accused of domestic violence in Rhode Island are frequently allowed to keep their firearms, according to a report released Tuesday by the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

The report shows that 13 percent of police departments have no clear policy for removing firearms in domestic violence situations. A third of departments seize the weapon only if an arrest is made. A quarter of the departments rely on the responding officer's individual judgment.

The Coalition has developed a protocol for police to follow, according to policy director Zulma Garcia.

"What we're telling cops to do is remove firearms from domestic violence situations to increase victim safety within the framework of the federal statute and state statute," says Garcia.

The study also finds that half of all domestic violence deaths in Rhode Island involve the use of a firearm.

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