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Rhode Island Gun Laws

Rhode Island Gun Laws



Over the past ten years, Rhode Island’s gun laws have undergone significant changes, reflecting the state’s commitment to ensuring public safety while respecting the rights of responsible firearm owners. From background checks to concealed carry regulations, these developments highlight Rhode Island’s dedication to adapting its laws to address evolving perspectives on firearm ownership. This article provides an overview of the key updates in Rhode Island’s gun laws and regulations from 2013 to 2023, presented in bullet points:

2013 – Comprehensive Background Checks Enhancement:

   – Legislation introduced to require comprehensive background checks for all firearm sales, including private transactions.

   – Aims to close potential loopholes and enhance vetting.

2014 – Enhanced Mental Health Reporting:

   – Strengthened reporting of mental health records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

   – Aims to prevent firearm access by individuals with mental health concerns.

2015 – Firearm Storage and Child Access Prevention Laws:

   – Enactment of laws promoting responsible firearm storage and holding adults accountable for securing firearms from children’s access.

2016 – Domestic Violence Firearm Restraining Orders:

   – Introduction of laws allowing law enforcement to seek temporary firearm removal for individuals subject to domestic violence protection orders.

2017 – “Red Flag” Law Enactment:

   – Adoption of laws allowing family members and law enforcement to seek temporary firearm removal for individuals posing risks.

2018 – Enhanced Penalties for Gun Crimes:

   – Introduction of legislation enforcing stricter penalties for individuals convicted of gun-related crimes.

   – Aims to deter illegal firearm use and promote public safety.

2019 – Concealed Carry Permit Reforms:

   – Discussion around potential reforms to concealed carry permit requirements, focusing on training and qualifications.

2020 – Enhanced Oversight of Firearms Dealers:

   – Exploration of measures to enhance regulation and oversight of firearm dealers.

2021 – Enhanced Reporting on Lost or Stolen Firearms:

   – Strengthened laws requiring firearm owners to report lost or stolen firearms to law enforcement within a specific timeframe.

2022 – Background Checks for Ammunition Purchases:

    – Exploration of laws requiring background checks for ammunition purchases to prevent unauthorized access.

2022 – Firearm Waiting Period Consideration:

    – Discussion about implementing a mandatory waiting period for firearm purchases to allow for comprehensive background checks.

2023 – School Safety Measures Enhancement:

    – Exploration of potential measures to enhance school safety, including resource officers or armed personnel.

2023 – Firearm Training and Safety Initiatives:

    – Introduction of initiatives promoting firearm safety education and training among gun owners.

    – Emphasis on responsible practices and handling.

2023 – Mental Health Crisis Intervention Orders:

    – Strengthening of laws allowing family members and law enforcement to seek temporary firearm removal for individuals facing mental health crises.

Rhode Island’s gun laws have evolved over the past decade, reflecting the state’s commitment to responsible firearm ownership and community safety. These changes demonstrate Rhode Island’s proactive approach to firearm regulation. As the state continues to adapt its laws, it remains crucial for stakeholders, policymakers, and the public to engage in informed discussions that prioritize individual rights while maintaining community security.

Rhode Island and its legislature intends to uphold its residents’ Second Amendment Rights. The State Constitutional Provision states, “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,” as written in Article 1, Section 22. Though at first glance, Rhode Island’s firearm laws seem to coincide with some of the country’s less stringent state policies. However, they do include provisions that other states with similar legislature do not impose.
Though the state does not require a gun permit for the purchase of rifles, shotguns, or handguns, it does require for a proper application form. The seller must then conduct a background check of the intended buyer through the local law enforcement officials or the State Police superintendent. Various copies are made to be sent to the Attorney General, the law enforcement agency conducting the background check, and one is kept by the seller.
The person or licensed firearms dealer must keep the copy for a period of six years. Furthermore, a seven-day waiting period is also instituted by law, and the physical transaction of the weapon from the seller to the buyer may not occur until the wait-period has lapsed. The purchaser must also be at least 18 years old and compliant to the federal regulations detailing the qualifications of possession of a firearm.
The purchasing of a handgun is slightly different than that of shotguns or rifles, but no gun permit is required. The age requirement is raised to 21, and the prospective buyer must be eligible to possess a handgun by law, and be a legal citizen of the United States. Along with the necessary waiting period, a prospective purchaser of a handgun must also complete a handgun instruction and safety course. This requirement may be met by completing one of the following:
     Completion of the state-issued hunter safety course.
     Completion of the pistol safety course administered by the Department of Environmental Management, as well as the administered test.
     Passing the DEM handgun safety test.
An application must also be submitted to the seller and conduct the necessary steps, as described with the process of purchasing a rifle or shotgun. Lastly, no licensed firearms dealer can deliver a handgun without providing for a trigger lock or similar device, which may be at the expense of the buyer.
A gun license or gun permit is not necessary for possession for adults of any kind of firearm. Minors under the age of 18 require to get a gun permit and the completion of a weapons training course, as long as he/she is given the written consent of a parent or legal guardian.
Those prohibited from possessing a firearm include people convicted of a crime that is of a violent nature, illegal aliens, any person that is regarded as mentally incompetent, and any person that has been subjected to treatment in the previous five years for illegal drugs, controlled substances, or alcohol.
The concealed carrying of handguns also requires a special gun license or gun permit. A qualified applicant must be 21 years of age and meet the criteria to possess a firearm under state and federal law. Furthermore, the applicant must also successfully complete a shooting test and showing a valid need to carry a concealed weapon.