1. News & Issues
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

What are the Gun Laws in Rhode Island?

Carrying, Antiques & Replicas, Machine Guns, Miscellaneous



It is unlawful to carry a handgun on or about one’s person or in any vehicle or conveyance without a license to carry. Exceptions to this prohibition are:
  • A person in his dwelling house, place of business, or on land possessed by him.

  • A person licensed to carry in another state, provided he is merely transporting the weapon through the state with no intent to detain himself or remain within Rhode Island.

  • Law enforcement personnel.

  • Military personnel when on duty.

  • Members of organizations authorized to purchase firearms from the U.S. provided they are at or going to or from their places of assembly or target practice.

  • A person carrying a handgun unloaded and securely wrapped from the place of purchase to his home or place of business, or in moving goods from one’s place of abode or business to another.

  • A person who is transporting a handgun from his home or place of business to a "bona fide target practice range" and back, provided the handgun is broken down, unloaded, and carried openly, or is unloaded and secured in a separate container.

To obtain a license to carry, an applicant must be 21 years of age, be a resident of the town where he is applying, or having a bona fide residence within the U.S. and a license or permit to carry a concealed handgun issued by another state or unit of local government, and have a good reason to fear an injury to his person or property or have "any other proper reason for carrying" a handgun, and be "a suitable person to be so licensed."

He must apply to the licensing authorities in his community and must qualify on a certified range by satisfactorily completing a series of target shots.

The qualifying test is outlined in state law and is designed to ensure that the licensee is proficient with his firearm. The attorney general may issue the license if the applicant meets the criteria outlined above, qualifies on the shooting test, and upon a proper showing of need.

A license shall be valid for four years, costs $40.00 and shall contain the licensee’s name, address, description, fingerprint, photograph, signature, and reason for desiring the license. It shall not contain the serial number of the firearm.

Antiques & Replicas

Antique firearms unsuitable for use and collections of firearms maintained for educational or scientific purposes are exempt from the above regulations.

Machine Guns

It is unlawful to manufacture, sell, purchase or possess a machine gun. However, the attorney general may issue a license to manufacture and sell machine guns and machine gun parts.

The attorney general may also issue a license to a bank or carrier (of money, securities, or valuables) permitting them to possess machine guns.

A machine gun is defined as any weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.

It also includes the frame or receiver and any parts which can be used to convert a weapon into a machine gun or any combination of parts from which a machine gun can be assembled.


  • Loss or theft of a firearm must be reported to the local law enforcement agency within 24 hours of the discovery of the loss or theft.

  • It is unlawful to change, alter, remove or obliterate the name of the maker, model, manufacturer’s number or other mark of identification on any firearm. Possession of a firearm with its marks altered shall create a legal presumption that the possessor committed the offense.

  • Rhode Island has enacted a statute expressly prohibiting any government agency or political subdivision from keeping a list or register of privately owned firearms.

  • It is unlawful to possess a loaded rifle or shotgun "in or on any vehicle or conveyance or its attachments" while on any public road. It is unlawful to carry or transport any firearm when under the influence of intoxicating liquor or narcotic drugs.

  • It is unlawful to possess any firearm within a building used for a public or private school or on the grounds of such public or private school.

  • A mandatory term of 3 to 10 years is provided where a crime of violence is committed or attempted while armed or while having available a firearm. A term of 1 to 10 years is provided for larceny of a firearm.

  • It is unlawful to possess or have under one‘s control any sawedoff shotgun or sawed-off rifle.

  • The control of firearms, ammunition, or their component parts regarding their ownership, possession, transportation, carrying, transfer, sale, purchase, purchase delay, licensing, registration, and taxation shall rest solely with the state.
  1. About.com
  2. News & Issues
  3. Crime
  4. Crime 101
  5. Issues / Controversies
  6. Weapons and Gun Control
  7. Gun Laws by State
  8. What are the Gun Laws in Rhode Island? 2

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.