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Rhode Island Gun Laws

Like many states in the Northeast, Rhode Island has fairly restrictive gun laws. Although the state constitution does guarantee the right to keep and bear arms, Rhode Island has enacted legislation that strictly governs firearms ownership. The state enforces universal background checks. With some limited exceptions, Rhode Island is a ‘shall issue’ state for concealed carry licenses.

Rhode Island Gun Laws at a Glance


Concealed Carry Premit Required Yes
Open Carry Premitted No
Waiting period before purchasing Yes
Lost and Stolen Firearm Reporting Yes
Firearms License Required for Purchasing Yes
Universal Background Check Yes
Firearm Registration No
Large Capacity Magazine Ban No

Firearm License Requirements


Any person who does not have a concealed carry license must have a safety certificate to purchase a handgun. This certificate is obtained through the Department of Environmental Management and can be obtained by completing a two-hour basic handgun safety course.

Background Checks


All sellers of firearms must complete background checks on prospective purchasers. This does not apply if the purchaser is a retail firearms dealer, a member of law enforcement, or a concealed carry permit holder.

Rhode Island requires that licensed dealers contact the FBI directly for a background check prior to the sale of a firearm. Additionally, Rhode Island requires that licensed and unlicensed sellers also conduct state background checks through state or local police.

Gun Shows


Rhode Island does not regulate gun shows.

Hardware and Ammunition Restrictions

Hardware Restrictions
Assault Weapons Not restricted
50 Caliber Rifles Not restricted
Machine Guns Prohibited
Large Capacity Magazines Not restricted
Ammunition Armor-piercing ammunition is prohibited.

Prohibited Persons


The following people are prohibited from possessing or purchasing a firearm in Rhode Island:

  • Has been convicted of (or pled no contest to) “a crime of violence”;
  • Is a fugitive from justice
  • Has been convicted of a felony domestic violence offense, or of certain domestic violence misdemeanors
  • Is subject to certain domestic violence protective orders
  • Is subject to an extreme risk protection order
  • Is a drug addict
  • Is under guardianship, care, or confinement “by virtue of being a mental incompetent”
  • Is an illegal alien

Prohibited Places

Location Restrictions Exceptions
Schools Firearms are prohibited on school grounds. Handguns are prohibited in vehicles. Concealed handgun permit holders are exempt.
Vehicles Handguns are prohibited in vehicles. This prohibition does not apply to:
  • The transportation of handguns as merchandise
  • Any person carrying an unloaded handgun from the place of purchase to the person’s home or business
  • Any person who holds a concealed carry permit issued in another state who is transporting the firearm through Rhode Island

Concealed Carry Laws


Notify Officer No
“No Gun” Signs Not covered in Rhode Island law
In-Vehicle Carry Yes with permit
Restaurant Carry Yes
State Park Carry No
While Hunting No

Obtaining a Concealed Carry License

Rhode Island is a ‘shall issue’ state. This means that the licensing authority must issue a concealed carry license to any applicant who meets certain qualifications. However, in Rhode Island, the applicant must also:

  • Be “a suitable person to licensed”
  • Have a “good reason to fear an injury to his or her person or property” or have any other “proper reason” for carrying a handgun.
Requirements for a Concealed Carry License
  • Be “a suitable person to licensed”
  • Have a “good reason to fear an injury to his or her person or property” or have any other “proper reason” for carrying a handgun
  • Have a certification that he or she is qualified to safely use a handgun of the caliber equal to or larger than the one he or she is intending to carry

Concealed Carry Firearms Training

Any person seeking a license must have a certification that he or she is qualified to safely use a handgun of the caliber equal to or larger than the one he or she is intending to carry. The applicant must achieve a score of 195 or greater out of 300 with 30 rounds at an L target, from a distance of 25 yards.

Concealed Carry Location Restrictions

Even with a concealed carry permit, you may not carry a concealed firearm in the following locations:

  • State parks, wildlife management areas, and state or national forests
  • Any place if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Secured areas inside or around airports
  • Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by federal law or state law or regulation

Disclaimer: The information provided here is not to be construed as legal advice or acted upon as if it is legal advice: it is provided for informational and entertainment purposes only. While we strive to provide accurate, up-to-date content, we cannot guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or currency of the information. Gun laws can change frequently, especially at the state and local levels. Application of gun laws can be unique to an individual’s situation. We recommend that each individual consult with a competent and qualified legal professional before purchasing, transporting, or using any firearm or firearm-related product.