§ 11-47-63. Relief from disqualifiers program.
(a) Establishment of board. There is hereby established a board known as the relief from disqualifiers board to consider petitions for relief from a firearms prohibition due to an adjudication of commitment in Rhode Island.
(1) The board shall be comprised of five (5) members to be appointed by the governor subject to the following qualifications:
(i) One of whom shall be a licensed psychiatrist;
(ii) One of whom shall be a licensed psychologist;
(iii) One of whom shall be an active member of law enforcement in the state of Rhode Island;
(iv) One of whom shall be the director of the department of behavioral health, developmental disabilities and hospitals, or his/her designee; and
(v) One of whom shall be the attorney general or his/her designee.
(2) Each member shall serve for a term of three (3) years; provided, however, that of the initial members appointed to the board by the governor, two (2) shall be appointed for a term of two (2) years and three (3) shall be appointed to a term of three (3) years. As the term of office of a member of the board expires, his or her successor shall be appointed in a like manner for a term of three (3) years provided that a member shall continue to serve until an appointment is made by the governor. Any vacancy shall be filled by the governor for the unexpired term.
(b) Relief from disqualifiers program. A person who is subject to the disqualifiers of 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4) and 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(4) and/or § 40.1-5-8 because of an adjudication commitment under the laws of this state may petition for relief from a firearms prohibition from the relief from disqualifiers board. The board shall consider the petition for relief in accordance with the following:
(1) The board shall give the petitioner the opportunity to present evidence to the board in a closed and confidential hearing on the record;
(2) A record of the hearing shall be maintained by the board for purposes of appellate review; and
(3) The board shall conduct said hearing within thirty (30) days of the filing of a petition for relief.
(c) In determining whether to grant relief, the board shall consider evidence regarding the following:
(1) The circumstances regarding the firearms disqualifiers pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4) and 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(4);
(2) The petitioner's record, that must include at a minimum, the petitioner's mental health record, including a certificate of a medical doctor or psychiatrist licensed in this state certifying that the person is no longer suffering from a mental disorder that interferes or handicaps the person from handling deadly weapons;
(3) All records pertaining to the petitioner's criminal history; and
(4) Evidence of the petitioner's reputation through character witness statements, testimony, or other character evidence.
(d) The board shall have the authority to require that the petitioner undergo a clinical evaluation and risk assessment, the results of which may also be considered as evidence in determining whether to approve or deny the petition for relief.
(e) After a hearing on the record, the board shall grant relief provided that it finds, by a preponderance of the evidence, that:
(1) The petitioner is not likely to act in a manner dangerous to public safety; and
(2) Granting the relief will not be contrary to the public interest.
(f) The board shall issue a decision in writing justifying the reasons for a denial or grant of relief.
(g) Any person whose petition for relief has been denied by the board shall have a right to a de novo judicial review in the superior court. The superior court shall consider the record of the board hearing on the petition for relief, the decision of the board, and, at the court's discretion, any additional evidence it deems necessary to conduct its review.
(h) Upon notice that a petition for relief has been granted, the district court shall, as soon as practicable:
(1) Cause the petitioner's record to be updated, corrected, modified, or removed from any database maintained, and made available to, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) and reflect that the petitioner is no longer subject to a firearms prohibition as it relates to 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4) and 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(4); and
(2) Notify the attorney general of the United States that the petitioner is no longer subject to a firearms prohibition pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4) and 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(4).
(i) The district court shall adopt rules relating to the transmission of information relating to civil commitments pursuant to § 40.1-5-8(l) and to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), and the relief from disqualifiers process as set forth herein. In preparing such rules, the district court shall consult with the department of behavioral health, developmental disabilities and hospitals, the attorney general, and such other entities as may be necessary or advisable. Such regulations shall include provisions to protect the identity, confidentiality, and security of all records and data provided pursuant to this section and § 40.1-5-26.
(j) Any member of the relief from firearms disqualifications board, its agents, servants, and employees shall be immune from suit in any action, civil or criminal, based upon any official act or decision, related to this section, performed or made in good faith.
(P.L. 2014, ch. 423, § 1; P.L. 2014, ch. 455, § 1.)