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Legal Information: Rhode Island

State Gun Laws

Laws current as of November 30, 2023

I am a victim of domestic violence and the abuser has a gun. Is that legal?

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

  1. 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
  2. was convicted of –or pled “no contest” (“nolo contendere”) to– in Rhode Island or elsewhere:
  3. is a fugitive from justice;3
  4. has a final domestic violence restraining order issued against him/her from either family court or district court;4
  5. is in “community confinement” or otherwise subject to electronic surveillance or monitoring devices as a condition of parole;5
  6. is under guardianship, treatment, or confinement due to being mentally incompetent;
  7. has been adjudicated, is under treatment, or is under confinement as a drug addict;6 or
  8. is in the U.S. illegally (an “alien”).7

Also, 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 or if s/he has been convicted of a felony or domestic violence misdemeanor. Go to Federal Gun Laws to get more information.

1 RI Gen. Laws §§ 11-47-5(a); 11-47-2(5)
2 RI Gen. Laws §§ 11-47-5(a); 12-29-5; 12-29-2
3 ​RI Gen. Laws § 11-47-5(a)
4 RI Gen. Laws § 11-47-5(b)
5 RI Gen. Laws § 11-47-5(c)
6 RI Gen. Laws § 11-47-6
7 RI Gen. Laws § 11-47-7(a)