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Conozca la Ley: Rhode Island

ACTUALIZADA 26 de mayo, 2017

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Below is information about state gun laws in Rhode Island.  However, in addition to these state-specific laws, there are also federal gun laws that could apply.  To fully understand all of the legal protections available, it is important that you also read the Federal Gun Laws pages.

WomensLaw.org strongly recommends that you get in touch with a domestic violence advocate or lawyer in your community for more information on gun laws in your area. To find an agency, please go to the RI Where to Find Help page. 

Guns and Restraining Orders

arribaI have a temporary restraining order against the abuser. Can his/her gun be taken away?

Maybe, but not likely.  Rhode Island law does not prohibit an abuser who has a temporary restraining order against him/her from possessing a firearm.  However, you may be able to request in your temporary restraining order petition that the judge prohibit the abuser from possessing a gun while the order is in effect just in case the judge is willing to include this.  It may be helpful if you list the known firearms that s/he has (or the possible access to firearms) and specifically request in your paperwork that the abuser be prohibited from possessing firearms while your temporary order is in effect.  

Federal law may also prohibit the abuser from having a firearm while a temporary order is in effect.  If the judge gave you an ex parte temporary restraining order (which means that no advance notice was given to the abuser), which is commonly done, it could still be legal for him/her to have a gun under federal law.  However, if the judge scheduled a court hearing and gave notice of the hearing to the abuser before giving you the temporary restraining order, it is possible that it is illegal for him/her to have a gun under federal law.  The restraining order must also meet certain other requirements, though.  Read I have a final order of protection against the abuser. Can his/her gun be taken away? (in our Federal Gun Laws section) to find out more.

¿Le fue útil esta información?

arribaIs there anything I can do to make it more likely that the abuser's gun is taken away when I get a restraining order?

Here are a few things that may help:

  • If the abuser has a gun, tell the judge how many guns s/he has, and if s/he has ever threatened you with a gun;
  • Ask the judge to specifically write in your restraining order that the abuser cannot own, buy or have a gun while the order is in effect; and
  • Before leaving the courthouse, check to make sure that the gun restriction is written on your order.

It also may be helpful if the judge explains what will happen to the abuser's guns, who will take them, and where they will be held once you leave the courthouse.  If the judge agrees to add language that the abuser cannot keep his/her guns while the restraining order is in effect, you may also want to ask that the judge:

  • Require the abuser to give his/her guns to the police, or require the police to go to the abuser's house and get them;
  • Make it clear to both you and the abuser how long the guns will be kept away from the abuser; and
  • Order that the police notify you when the guns are returned to the abuser.

¿Le fue útil esta información?

arribaI have a restraining order against the abuser. Can s/he keep a gun or buy a new gun?

Under Rhode Island state law, as part of a final restraining order (after notice to the defendant and a hearing), the judge can order that the abuser hand over any firearms in his/her possession to the authorities and forbid him/her from buying or possessing firearms.  One exception to this, however, is if the abuser is a law officer, active member of the military, or in any other position where s/he is required by law or departmental policy to carry departmental firearms while on duty.  For these defendants, they can have a firearm only during the course of their employment but at all other times, it must be stored at the place of employment.*

In addition, federal laws, which apply to all states, restrict an abuser's right to have a gun if you have a restraining order against him/her that meets certain requirements even if the judge does not specifically include on the order that s/he cannot have a gun.  Go to the Federal Gun Laws page to get more information.

If you are afraid for your safety, talk to your local domestic violence program about your options.  Go to the RI State and Local Programs to find a program in your area.

* RI Gen. Laws §§ 8-8.1-3(a),(f),(h); 15-15-3(a),(f)

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