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Línea Nacional para la Violencia Doméstica: 1-800-799-7233 o (TTY) 1-800-787-3224

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. 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 Criminal Convictions

arribaIf the abuser has been convicted of a crime, can s/he keep or buy a gun?

Rhode Island state law says that a person cannot have or buy a gun if s/he:

  • has been convicted of a "crime of violence" in Rhode Island or elsewhere.* "Crimes of violence" include any of the following crimes or an attempt to commit any of them:
    • murder;
    • manslaughter;
    • rape;
    • first or second degree sexual assault; 
    • first or second degree child molestation;
    • kidnapping; 
    • first or second degree arson; 
    • mayhem; 
    • robbery; 
    • burglary;
    • breaking and entering; 
    • any felony violation involving the illegal manufacture, sale, or delivery of a controlled substance; possession with intent to manufacture, sell, or deliver a controlled substance; or conspiracy to commit manufacture, sell, or deliver a controlled substance; 
    • assault with a dangerous weapon; 
    • assault or battery involving grave bodily injury;
    • assault with intent to commit any offense punishable as a felony;
    • conviction of a domestic violence offense punishable as a felony;*1 however, in this case, s/he cannot have a gun for a period of two years after the domestic violence conviction;*2   
  • was convicted of or pled no contest ("nolo contendere") to any felony crime against a family or household member that is listed here; (Note: In this case, the judge will issue an order demanding that s/he surrender all firearms within 24 hours to a law-enforcement agency or to a federally-licensed firearms dealer and file proof of such surrender within 48 hours);*3
  • is in "community confinement" or otherwise subject to electronic surveillance or monitoring devices as a condition of parole;*4 or
  • is a fugitive from justice.*

Federal laws, which apply to all states, also restrict a person's right to have a gun if s/he has been convicted of certain crimes.  Go to Federal Gun Laws to get more information.

* RI Gen. Laws § 11-47-5(a)
*1 RI Gen. Laws § 11-47-2(2)
*2 RI Gen. Laws § 11-47-5(b)
*3 RI Gen. Laws § 11-47-5.3(a)(1),(3)
*4 RI Gen. Laws § 11-47-5(c)

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arribaHow can I find out if the abuser has been convicted of a crime?

Misdemeanor and felony records are open to the public, but they are not always easy to access.  If you know the exact courthouse where the abuser may have been convicted, you can go to the courthouse and ask the clerk of court for access to those records.

Federal law specifically prohibits possession of a firearm if the person is convicted of any felony or of a domestic violence misdemeanor. Criminal records that would make a person ineligible to purchase a firearm are also kept in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).  However, no one other than law enforcement officials and licensed firearm sellers are allowed to search the NICS.  Your local police department may be willing to search NICS for you if you ask, but they are not required to do so.

To read more about the NICS, please see the question What will happen if the abuser tries to purchase a gun?

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